Gray Divorce

The term Gray Divorce is generally defined as the end of a marriage between two people who are 50 years of age or older. The demographic that the two words represents has received more attention in recent years due to the dramatic increase in divorce within this age category. Since the early 1980’s overall incidents of divorce have leveled out or even decreased slightly. But statistics show that since the early 1990’s, those couples who fall into the “Gray” group are divorcing at historically high rates. Professors Susan L. Brown and L-Fen Lin of Bowling Green University analyzed census data and found that in 2010 1 out of 4 divorces where a gray divorce which compares alarmingly to 1990 when the ratio was only 1 out of 10.

Marriages fail within all age groups for a number of reason including money pressures, unhappiness, infidelity, alcohol and drug abuse, and a lack of feeling fulfilled. An obvious trend that affects the gray divorce calculations is that people are simply living longer. Longevity means that there is less of a chance that a marriage will end in death which in turn increases the exposure to divorce. Another contributor is the easing in societal and religious attitudes to divorce. Many of the outside pressures that earlier generations experienced have gone away, and that has allowed many older people to seek a new life instead of staying inside a marriage no matter what.

Often marriages are held together by children and career but once retirement comes and the nest empties people find that they are with someone they no longer like. Knowing that they have a good thirty years of life left they may want to find some fulfillment to their life without the person they are married to. If all attributes like these remain equal it makes sense that as people live longer the occurrences of gray divorce will naturally increase.