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Divorce rates are dropping, but “gray divorce” is rising: Why?

Whether you call it a “diamond divorce,” a “silver splitter” or “gray divorce,” one thing is certain: Your odds of getting a divorce when you’re 50 years of age or older is actually now higher than ever.

As a whole, the overall divorce rate has been declining in the United States for a while, with the notable exception being the rate of couples breaking up in midlife or later. Couples over 50 years of age are divorcing at roughly twice the rate they were in 1990, while couples over 65 years of age are divorcing at roughly three times that rate.

What’s prompting the marital discord between older couples?

Honestly, there’s no real mystery here. We have simply moved into a modern era with different social and economic factors in play than before.

In the past, couples may have stuck it out in unhappy marriages because they felt socially or financially tied to each other. Women in particular were less likely to have access to money and other resources needed to live independently. In addition, both parties may have feared the social stigma of divorce — which was once considered a personal failure.

Today, both halves of a couple are more likely to have their own careers and incomes, so they don’t feel as economically bound to each other. Divorce is now universally accepted and people are encouraged to leave broken marriages and pursue happiness elsewhere. Further, life spans are increasing, and many unhappy couples may simply decide they have too many good years left to spend it with a partner who doesn’t fulfill their needs.

Plus, life spans are increasing, and many unhappy couples may simply decide they have too many good years left to spend it with a partner who doesn’t appreciate them.

Whatever your reason for seeking a divorce, it’s always best to gather information and receive some guidance before you begin. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand all of your options and the issues that might be in play during your divorce.