Divorce rates continue to rise for one group of people in Missouri and across the United States: the baby boomer generation, now comprised of people over age 50. The term “gray divorce” has been coined to describe these separations. Divorces have more than doubled for Americans over 50 since the mid-1990s at the same time that the divorce rate for the general population has stabilized or even declined. There are a number of factors that can contribute to this trend. Approximately 25 percent of all divorces in the country are carried out by people over the age of 50.
These statistics encompass divorces between couples who were married for decades as well as people ending shorter second or third marriages later in life. There are simply more older people than there were in the past, and they are living longer, healthier lives. While there were 63.5 million Americans over 50 in 1990, by 2010, there were 99 million people of that age. In addition, as of 2016, people live an average of 10 years longer than they did in 1950.
Increased life expectancy might spur people to put an end to unhappy marriages and move forward with their lives. However, experts have noted that many people who divorce over 50 do so over major conflicts rather than simple incompatibility, often citing infidelity, drug addiction, mental health concerns, physical abuse or emotional abuse.
Divorce can be accompanied by serious financial concerns, especially for people over the age of 50 who may have less time to rebuild their retirement savings. A family law attorney may provide guidance and representation to spouses seeking a divorce and help them to obtain fair settlements that respect their contributions to the marriage.