If you and your New Jersey spouse are an older couple, you aren’t alone. Divorces involving couples over 50 have doubled since 1990 and may triple by 2030. Why is this trend happening?
Gray divorce not unique to the United States
The divorce rate among older couples continues to rise in other countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Europe, Australia and India. It’s a worldwide reality that has several causes:
• Focus on personal happiness and self-fulfillment
• Substantial increase in life expectancy
• Shifting attitudes about marriage
• More women are financially independent after joining the workforce
Couples who have married decades earlier often drift apart and are more willing to acknowledge their differences regarding finances, interests, and emotional fulfillment. They become more willing to recognize their unsatisfying relationships. Another factor is empty nest syndrome, when their adult children leave home as couples begin to find nothing in common. Addictions, infidelity and financial difficulties become contributing factors. The dream they thought they would achieve is nowhere in sight. Instead, they are unhappy and unfulfilled and see the decades ahead as a way to achieve something great. Some have little or no interactions with their spouses. In other words, they want more in life.
Navigating the complexities of gray divorce
Many older couples have accumulated considerable assets during their years of marriage. Although they often remain amicable, their splits are frequently complicated due to property division and other issues. Gray divorces can take a long time because of the considerations and paperwork required in dividing retirement accounts.
Working with financial counselors to evaluate your assets and recommend a course of action can help make the process smoother. Usually, older couples also have a mortgage-free residence that neither spouse wants. Mediation is another alternative to help ensure that you get the best possible deal. Unraveling decades of marriage takes time, so don’t rush the process.