Traditionally, married couples in Illinois and around the country have faced specific periods of time where they are most vulnerable to divorce. The first trouble spot tends to pop up after seven years of marriage, and the second danger zone occurs around the 20-year mark. However, over the last few decades, a new trend has emerged: gray divorce.
Gray divorce is defined as any split that takes place after the age of 50. While the divorce rates among all other age groups have decreased over the years, federal statistics show the rate for this demographic actually doubled between 1990 and 2010. According to relationship experts, there could be a number of reasons for the trend. First, the stigma long associated with divorce has finally faded in many social circles, allowing more older people to consider it as a legitimate option. Second, Americans are living longer, which means that some people are realizing they don’t want to spend the next 20 or 30 years with a partner who makes them unhappy.
Because of these changes, older people are choosing to leave partners who have cheated on them, been emotionally or physically abusive or have simply checked out of their marriage. However, relationship experts point out that couples facing less serious marital issues, such as communication problems, boredom or lack of connection, might want to look into counseling or other relationship-saving options before pulling the plug. Divorce is difficult at any age, but gray divorce presents special problems, including more complicated asset structures to divide and less time to recover from any financial losses incurred as the result of a split.
Because gray divorce can be more complex than ending a marriage at a younger age, you may want to carefully research its financial impact before making any final decisions. It might also be helpful to consult with professionals such as financial advisers, tax experts and attorneys as you consider your options. Their advice could help you identify potential pitfalls and make informed choices throughout the process.