We all know that divorce is more common than it used to be. However, it may surprise you to learn that while divorce rates have actually fallen among younger couples since 1990, the rate has doubled for couples over the age of 50 in the same time span.

What pushes couples in their later years to call it quits after decades together? Today we examine some contributing factors of what is known as “gray divorce”:

  • Empty nest: Many couples devote much of their married life to jointly raising their children. Once the kids are grown and out of the house, couples sometimes find it difficult to find other points of connection. If they find that their children were the main thing tying them together, they may turn to divorce.
  • Retirement: Regardless of whether the husband was the primary breadwinner and the wife was the homemaker, or both couples had full careers, things can turn sour once retirement kicks in. For the first time in perhaps their entire marriage, the couple is spending every hour of every day together. Couples may struggle to find activities to occupy their time—either individually or together—which can weaken their bond and add frustration to the relationship.
  • Repeat divorce: Since divorce is more common that it was 50 years ago, many older couples have been married at least once before. A couple entering into marriage for the second time is 2.5 times as likely to get divorced compared to their first marriage.

While it may seem like a marriage that has endured for decades should last forever, this is frequently not the case. If you’re considering gray divorce, it’s important to talk to an experienced divorce attorney who understands that considerations specific to gray divorce.