In the last few years, some of the country’s wealthiest older couples have decided to call it quits. These headline-grabbing divorces highlight an increase in gray divorce in recent decades. Gray divorce is simply divorce that happens after the age of 50.
Two decades ago, only 10% of divorces involved older couples. Today, roughly 25% of divorcing individuals are 50 or older. Here are three reasons gray divorce is becoming more common in Maryland and across the country.
1. Longer lifespans
According to the World Bank, the average American has a life expectancy of more than 78 years. This represents a nearly eight-year increase since 1960. As individuals live longer, they naturally have more time to end their marriages.
2. Improved financial security
In past decades, one spouse often went to work while the other remained at home. After it became common for both spouses to enter the workforce, married individuals have had improved financial security. If a person over the age of 50 does not have to worry about money matters, he or she may be more willing to pursue divorce.
3. Different social views
The way society views divorce has changed considerably over the last 50 years. While divorce was once faux pas, divorcing individuals no longer face the same stigma. Consequently, it may be easier than ever for those over 50 to discuss their decisions to divorce with friends, family members and others.
Just because a marriage has endured for years does not necessarily mean it should last forever. Hopefully, the comparatively commonplace nature of gray divorces today encourages a greater number of unhappy couples to explore brighter futures.