In the United States, people get married at increasingly older ages. According to the United States Census Bureau, men’s and women’s median age at first marriage increased steadily since 2008. With the increase in age at first marriage comes an increase in gray divorce.
Gray divorce refers to people in their mid-50s and older who end their marriage. Even if you factor in the increased age of marriage, you might wonder why the increase in gray divorce. After all, the overall divorce rate in the United States is on the decline.
There is not one answer for why gray divorce is on the rise. However, one of the factors might be culture. Divorce is no longer as stigmatized as it was for previous generations. No one wants to get a divorce, but most people can count on the support of their friends and family throughout the process.
Increased life expectancy
One of the most cited reasons for an increase in gray divorce is longer life spans. According to the CDC, average life expectancy increased from 68.2 to 77.9 between 1950 and 2007. With that extra ten years comes the realization that an unhappy marriage is not worth it. Older generations would not consider divorcing at 55. However, couples today must consider what they want out of the next 20 or more years they expect to live.
Before settling for divorce, you must strongly consider your financial situation. Most people earn the highest income in their 50s. You should not live the rest of your life in a frustrating marriage, but remember that divorce becomes more complicated with more marital property.