Understanding the ‘Gray Divorce’ Trend in Maryland
There’s a trend of older individuals getting divorced in Maryland. Known as a ‘gray divorce,’ mature couples, typically baby boomers, will decide to split after 20 to 30 years of marriage.
In fact, according to Pew Research Center, the divorce rate of couples who are over 50 years old has doubled since 1990. Essentially, more older couples are getting divorced than ever before.
But why is gray divorce on the rise? Keep reading as we discuss the causes and effects of gray divorce below.
Reasons for Gray Divorce
Married couples who have been together for many years are not immune to the complications of marriage and irreconcilable differences that can lead to divorce.
Some couples have spent the majority of their marriage raising children and grandchildren and working. When they retire, they spend more time one-on-one with their spouse. This uninterrupted time together can reveal issues in their relationship, make space for arguments about differences that may have gone unnoticed for many years, or even just give spouses the space to realize they don’t want to spend the last few decades of their lives together.
Other couples simply grow apart. They might not argue or harbor frustration or anger toward one another. Still, they may start to realize they are no longer a match because one or both partners have grown and changed.
Just like at any other age, older couples also deal with marital issues such as infidelity. Such violations of trust can quickly ruin a marital bond.
Finally, one spouse may stay active in their older age while the other spouse wants to slow down. These lifestyle differences can lead to divorce when a couple feels like they are no longer compatible.
Even Gray Divorce Can Have a Significant Impact
There may be a misconception that there are fewer consequences of late-in-life divorce. After all, the couples likely don’t have young children who would be affected and are more likely to be financially secure.
However, even gray divorce can have a significant impact on the divorcing spouses, their lifestyles, and their family. Here are just a few of the many consequences.
Relationships With Children
Although divorcing when your children are young presents significant issues like custody, divorcing when your children are grown comes with its own challenges. When adults have lived their whole lives with married parents, the sudden change can leave the adult children feeling resentful, confused, sad, or angry.
Gray divorce may not affect the adult children’s day-to-day life, but it can complicate celebrations such as weddings, holidays, and birthdays, and can be confusing for younger grandchildren.
If you’re getting divorced at any age, it is important to address the conversation with family in a calm and open manner. Make space for family members to potentially have negative reactions.
Although older adults may have accumulated wealth over the course of their lives, many adults in gray divorces are retired, so their income and finances may be tighter. Older adults tend to have most of their money tied up in assets, so dividing these is more challenging.
After decades of sharing living costs with your partner, it can be a huge adjustment to suddenly have to afford to live independently.
This is especially difficult for older adults who purchased a home many years ago and have not been affected by the rising rental and real estate costs. It can be a rude awakening for newly-single baby boomers to learn that the rent for a one-bedroom apartment could be double the mortgage in their marital home.
Living costs are not limited to housing, however. As you get older, medical care may become more frequent, which can increase your overall cost of living.
Before beginning a gray divorce, spouses must evaluate whether or not they will be able to afford living alone.
If one or both spouses are not yet retired, they may find that they need to push back their retirement to afford to live alone as well as the divorce itself.
By that same token, adults who are already retired may not be able to afford living alone and may need to return to work to do so.
Unfortunately, the main consideration for older adults choosing to divorce is whether or not they will be able to afford it. Still, many people find a way to make a late-in-life divorce work for them as the gray divorce trend continues in Maryland.
Considering gray divorce? An attorney from Coover Law Firm can help.
Are you considering a divorce after decades of marriage? Gray divorce may seem difficult or overwhelming, but Coover Law Firm, LLC is here to help. With a good divorce attorney, you’ll have help navigating the divorce and its effects on your life.
Our Howard County divorce lawyer Mr. Coover has 30 years of legal experience. Choose to be represented by a seasoned professional in your divorce. Call Coover Law Firm, LLC to schedule a time to discuss your situation and make a plan for your next steps.
Contact us today at (410) 553-5042.