January has long been known as divorce month. Any Michigan divorce attorney will tell you that there is typically an increase in couples choosing to make their split official after the holidays. One element of this reality that is changing, however, is that there are more gray divorces than ever.
Causes of Gray Divorce
The phenomenon of “gray divorce” has become so common that even the nickname has earned other nicknames, like “silver splitter” and “diamond divorce.” All refer to late-in-life divorces between couples who have an empty nest and are of a certain age.
The U.S. Census Report from April 2021 found that nearly 35% of all Americans who got a divorce in 2020 were age 55 and older – that’s twice the rate of any age group surveyed. This could be called a trend, or simply a fact of life, but there are several factors that contribute to the rising numbers:
- Empty nest syndrome: When the kids are off to college and their own adult lives and a marriage is no longer held together by the children, some couples recognize that their relationship has changed dramatically from what it once was. They no longer connect the way they did before children and they either can’t or don’t want to try to find the spark again.
- Opposite professional goals: One half of a couple may be looking forward to retirement while the other – who perhaps focused on caring for kids for the duration of the marriage and did not prioritize or nurture their own career – is ready to really make a name for themselves in their field. These opposite goals don’t make the gray phase of marriage easy.
- Conflicting retirement plans: One person may want to travel and see the world, to do anything but sit at home. The other may want to do just that – find a comfortable new space to live in that doesn’t require much upkeep and will keep them snug and cozy to the end of their days. Varying energies and dreams for their silver future can cause a couple to end their union.
- Facing bad behavior: Some couples are willing to sweep infidelity and other bad behavior under the rug while the kids are under their roof. They stay in a marriage for the sake of the children. When the kids are gone, though, it is no longer easy to overlook what one person did that pierced a marriage irrevocably.
- Covid-19 fallout: Over the past two years, couples have spent more time together than ever before, facing lockdowns, quarantines, children or other family members living under their roof, sickness, and more. Some couples come out of traumatic situations stronger for it while others flail and implode.
When Late-in-Life Divorce Is the Right Choice
Divorce after 55 isn’t a bad thing. People live longer than ever and they know it. If you don’t see yourself happy living many more decades with the person you’re married to right now, a gray divorce may be the best choice you make for your future.
If you have questions about a Michigan divorce, contact Femminineo Attorneys to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more.