It used to be that divorce was mostly for younger people who have only been married for a few years. But today, the highest divorce rate is highest among people aged 55 to 64 at around 43 percent.
While many people who get divorced in middle age are on their second (or third) marriage, in many cases, couples are ending their marriages after 30 years or longer. Their reasons vary, but couples who split up after decades have been aware of problems in their relationships for a long time but decided to wait until their children were grown up and out of the house before ending things.
Alabama’s divorce laws are the same no matter how old the spouses are. But practically speaking, divorce usually looks pretty different for people in their 50s and 60s than it does for those in their 20s and 30s. Here are four things about “gray divorce” that might surprise you.
- It’s often easier. For one thing, your children are probably adults, so child custody and child support will not be issues. From a personal perspective, once in middle age, you are old enough to do what is right for you and not stay in an unhappy marriage to please your relatives or live up to some societal ideal.
- It might be tougher on your (adult) children. Many couples wait to get divorced for the kids. But ironically, finding out that their parents are divorcing can be harder for adults to process. One reason is that when parents of young children, they are still living with the kids, at least part-time. They notice their children’s moods and are there to talk and offer emotional support. Adult children live on their own and may not see their parents very often. They may not have access to the same amount of help from you or your ex.
- Property division can be tougher. A couple who has been together for 30 years has likely earned more wealth than one married for ten. While there may be enough money for both exes to retire comfortably, the issue in property division may be more about control. Owners of a family business may each want to carry on that company’s legacy.
- There are still people who look down on divorce. Although divorce is common in 2021 and has been for decades, there are still individuals and communities in Alabama that look down on it. Some older divorced people may have to compare potential judgment from their friends, families and neighbors against the benefit divorce would have on their lives.
Everyone, including people over 50, deserves a divorce that is as smooth and hassle-free as possible and leaves them in sound financial shape. This starts with working with the right divorce attorney.