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Gray Divorce

 Divorce Among Senior Citizens is on the rise

By Ty Supancic, Esq.

When people ask about our client demographic they’re always surprised to learn that about a third of our divorce clients are seniors. Some are ending short-term second, third, and fourth marriages, but many are dissolving marriages longer than 25 years. I’d like to think the high number of seniors is a testament to their maturity and wisdom – after all, the majority of our clients are attracted by our pioneering work in Consensual Dispute Resolution – but the truth is, divorce among seniors is on the rise, so much so that it’s given rise to the term “gray divorce.”

According to the CDC, the divorce rate among people over 50 has more than doubled since 1990. Experts suggest that is because divorce currently lacks the social stigma which traditionally surrounded it. If social stigma were the predominant factor, one would expect overall divorce rates to increase, but divorce in general has decreased over the last decade.

Many believe the reason for the increasing numbers of divorcing seniors is longevity. A generation ago people could expect to die shortly after retiring. Today, even if most people can’t afford to retire, they may expect to live for another 25 -30 years beyond 50. One of my clients observed, “I’ve been unhappy for the last 30 years; I don’t want to be unhappy for the next 30.”

I suggest that one reason divorces are in decline is the new understanding that most marriages can be saved if the parties are willing to work on communication skills – whether it be communication about important issues like finances or communication for intimacy’s sake.

After living with someone for 30+ years, it’s easy to find your relationship in a rut. Resources like the website are wonderful tools for new relationship ideas. And sometimes, the spark of something new is all it takes to put a couple back on the path towards working to strengthen their marriage. We also emphasize Conflict Avoidance Planning when we meet with couples contemplating marriage or divorce who are looking for a Prenuptial Agreement or Post-Nuptial Contract to keep their affairs in order.

These are some of the reasons The Law Collaborative encourages our clients to consider working with a communications coach or marriage counselor before making the life-changing decision to end a marriage.

The Law Collaborative supports marriage, we support families, and we support families during their transition if the marriage cannot be saved. We are pioneers in the creation and development of Conflict Avoidance Planning Tools. If you are interested in learning more about this, give us a call. (818) 348-6700.