It’s a common, albeit sad, statistic that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. But what’s surprising is that while the divorce rate has gone down or risen only slightly among younger age groups, for adults ages 50 and older it has nearly doubled in the past 25 years according to Pew Research Center. Here’s what you should know about “grey divorce” and how to navigate it.

The Details on Grey Divorce

A grey divorce is simply a divorce among persons ages 50 and older. In fact, Pew Research Center states that for every 1,000 married persons 50 and older, 10 are divorced. While divorce in this age group is more common among those who’ve been married less than 10 years or those who are remarried, a significant share (34 percent) is among those who’ve been in their marriage for at least 30 years. 

Some of the reasons for grey divorce are common in any divorce such as finances, infidelity and addiction. But specifically in this age group, reasons like empty nest syndrome, retirement and even the fact that we’re living longer, healthier lives than ever before are also drivers.

While divorce at any age is difficult, grey divorcees tend to be less financially secure than married or widowed adults, and those who live alone may be more depressed and socially isolated which can negatively affect your health per Pew Research Center.

Tips for Dealing with Grey Divorce

If you find yourself facing a grey divorce, here are some tips on navigating the process, both logistically and emotionally:

  1. Find Support – Divorce will be infinitely harder if you’re trying to go through it alone. Lean on friends and family if you can, consider joining a support group or going to counseling to help you cope and make a healthy transition.
  2. Consider Your Finances – When divorcing younger, retirement seems so far off in the distance, but now you may need to talk to a financial planner about recalculating your financial goals. At a minimum, consider your income and expenses, as well as how the division of assets will affect your standard of living going forward.
  3. Keep a Routine – Although everything likely seems so uncertain right now, it’s still important to try to stick to as normal a routine as possible and make sure to take time to eat well, exercise and find a way to escape the stress for a bit by reading, taking a bath, meditating or any healthy way that helps you relax.
  4. Find Yourself Again – After you’ve been married for so long, it can be hard to think of yourself independently again. But you should, you deserve it! In fact, reclaiming your identity is a great way to start moving forward by investing more time in hobbies that you love or trying things you’ve always wanted to do.
  5. Try Mediation – Divorce is difficult enough without wasting excess time and money in litigation. Mediation gives you an alternative that makes the process easier, more private and less confrontational by enlisting a neutral third party to help you negotiate an amicable divorce agreement. Bonus: we offer our mediation services are 100 percent virtual for added flexibility and convenience.

For more information on navigating a grey divorce, contact our experienced mediation team today to learn more.