According to a recent New York Times article, more men and women over the age of 50 are getting divorced than ever before. Even as the divorce rate for other age groups remains steady or declines, these ‘silver’ or ‘gray’ divorces are on the rise, and for those over the age of 65, the rate is even higher. There are several reasons for this increase. First, those other the age of 50 are often in second marriages and face more financial hardships and the stress of blended families. Second, people are living longer, and are more selective about with whom they spend their time. And third, becoming separated no longer holds the stigma it once did, making it more socially acceptable to be divorced.
Also, it seems women are more likely to leave the marriage than men; men would prefer to stay in a so-so marriage so as not to rock the boat. Women are now more empowered, liberated, and able to get what they want. They are taking the risk to break up the marriage to find love or be content on their own. Women are realizing that staying together for the kids, especially when these kids are older and have left home, is no longer satisfactory. Despite the financial uncertainty that may follow a divorce, divorced women can spend time exploring their interests and newly found freedom.
According to David Badanes, a renowned divorce attorney on Long Island, there has indeed been an increase in married couples over 50 looking for a divorce. He finds that this can be attributed to no-fault divorces making it easier for either spouse in a long marriage to obtain a divorce. Additionally, for married couples whose children are grown, the divorce will only involve financial issues such as how to divide the marital assets and alimony (spousal maintenance). Ultimately, divorce mediation may be a good alternative for some older spouses facing a contested divorce.
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