A “gray divorce” occurs when a senior couple ends their marriage after years or decades of togetherness. Also called a “late-life split,” a gray divorce is becoming increasingly acceptable among older couples across the country. Let us look at what is causing this trend to take shape in our society.
Divorce is No Longer Stigmatized
In the past, many couples preferred to stick together despite overwhelming differences to avoid the social stigma attached to divorce. The societal perceptions have changed significantly with the passage of time and divorce is no longer considered something that must be avoided at all costs. Many seniors have finally reached a level of confidence where they can see a gray divorce as a socially viable option.
Health and life Expectancy has Improved
“Sixty is the new forty” seems to be quite an apt slogan at this point. With improved healthcare and lifestyles, seniors these days have a better chance of leading full, healthy, and independent lives well into their 80s. When you feel tied down in an unhappy marriage with life still beckoning, a divorce can seem like a prudent solution.
The Freedom Afforded by Retirement
When you are busy working and raising a family, most couples don’t have the luxury to reflect on the finer things in life. But post-retirement, especially if you have a fair amount of financial security and stability, many seniors are willing to take more bold decisions for their own happiness, including getting out of a broken marital relationship.
Divorce that has been Postponed for Long
The reasons for divorce can date back years, if not decades. It can take a long time before a general dissatisfaction with the marital life might transform into a determined decision to go ahead with divorce. When it occurs at a rather late stage in life, it gets termed as a gray divorce.
Pandemic Driven Gray Divorces
The stress of living through a deadly pandemic, especially as one of the vulnerable populations, can have a significant impact on mental health and personal relations. And when you add the additional stress of financial instability in your older years, it becomes the perfect storm that seems to be pushing gray divorce rates well above historical averages.
Mediation is the Ideal Way to Settle a Gray Divorce
A marriage that lasted for decades does not have to end in acrimony. An amicable or fair and reasonable settlement is possible with the support and guidance from a skilled divorce mediator. It is even more desirable to choose mediation when grown-up kids and extended families are involved. A divorce between the grandparents does not necessarily have to bitterly divide an entire family into two.
The additional expenses of getting a lawyer and going to court are taxing even on young couples with a stable income. For seniors living on a pension, or soon to enter retirement, throwing away money like that is not at all helpful. When you are younger, you at least have time and energy on your side to earn some or all of it back.
Finally, there is also the issue of time. On average, a litigated divorce can take more than double the time it takes couples to reach a mediated divorce. With committed support from the professional mediators, like those at Advanced Mediation Solutions, you can address all differences with your former spouse and reach a peaceful and satisfactory divorce settlement in the shortest timeframe.
From the Indisputably blog.I recently joined the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Publications Board, which recruits people to write books, reviews book proposals, and oversees the Section’s bookselling operation. If...By John Lande