More evidence that divorce can affect anyone surfaced when data about elderly couples divorcing emerged. The Wichita Post, based out of Kansas, reported that the number of post 50 divorces doubled in 20 years.
Elderly couples are starting to divorce more often
The coverage began with a story about a 65 year old woman who filed for divorce in 2011. She said that her intentions were to travel with her husband after retirement, but she ended up alone after several decades of marriage.
Examples like this are not necessarily unique. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people who divorced after their 50th birthday more than doubled according to a Bowling Green State University study. This has happened while divorces among younger people started to slow down. When the study started in 1990 only 1 in 10 marriages ended after the age of 50. By the 2010s, it was at least 1 in 4.
Some possible explanations for this phenomenon include a large number of baby boomers entering old age, women with their own careers and sources of income, and less people following religious rules about not divorcing.
There are also some strange emerging trends, such as spouses growing apart after their children are old enough to live on their own. This was generally seen as a time when marriages would get stronger without as much time dedicated to children, but the opposite may be true. Those who have already been divorced and remarried are more likely to divorce again at an older age, as well as those who are unemployed or have significant financial problems. However, highly educated individuals tend to divorce less across all age groups.
Other important implications emerge from this data. Because the U.S. population is aging as a whole, this means that the overall divorce rate will increase if these trends continue. More elderly people may be put in financial trouble as well, because switching jobs or starting a new career becomes less feasible at an advanced age. There may be widespread issues with older people lacking health insurance due to financial strain and job changes.
Divorces can happen to anyone at any age
While people marry with intentions of staying together forever, reports such as this show that a significant percentage of marriages will not survive, even if the spouses divorce well into old age. Because a divorce can create a very different situation depending on a person’s position in life when it happens, it is important to get legal help early and explain your specific needs to an attorney. An experienced family lawyer can help guide you through your transition into a new life.
Get legal help with an impending divorce