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Why ‘Gray Divorce’ is on the Rise


People get married and divorced at a wide range of ages, with the legal and financial complications of tying the knot or calling it quits varying based on your stage in life. A pair of recent op-eds shines a light on “gray divorce.”

At CNN, psychologist John Duffy uses the recent news that Bill and Melinda Gates are parting ways to point out that divorce among older couples is on the rise. Divorces involving people over the age of 50 have more than doubled since 1990.

He says this is because people are increasingly willing to pull the plug rather than stay in an unhappy marriage and try to make it work. Many are also reevaluating their marriages “in real-time.”

“Couples aren’t simply ‘drifting apart’ overtime anymore,” Duffy writes. “One or both people in the marriage are making an overt choice to change course for the time they have left. And recognizing that life is short and precious, one or both partners choose what they feel is the most fulfilling path.”

It just so happens that people are living longer at the same time. Americans can expect to live until 79 years old, on average, according to United Nations data. That is up from an average life span of about 68 years old back in 1950.

Duffy urges anyone considering divorce after a long marriage to talk it out with his or her spouse, and a therapist. Over at Forbes, personal finance adviser, Heather Locus says they should also get a clear picture of the financial implications.

That starts with understanding your earning potential and the impact of the divorce on your retirement account, as well as your health insurance options and the implications for any children who are financially dependent on you.

“As unsettling as it may feel to start all over again at midlife, there’s a lot you can do to create a better post-divorce future,” Locus writes.

How Our Grand Rapids Divorce Lawyers Can Help 

At Kraayeveld Law, our Grand Rapids divorce lawyers help people at a wide range of ages consider a divorce and handle the full range of related family law issues.  It is vital to understand your rights and options before filing for divorce.

That includes thinking about spousal support, or alimony, how the family home, retirement accounts, and other assets will be divided, and how children under the age of 18 will be cared for. A lawyer at our firm can also work to resolve some or all of these issues through a negotiated settlement rather than leaving it up to a judge.

Are you considering filing for divorce? If so, we encourage you to contact us for a free consultation. Our Grand Rapids divorce lawyers will give you an honest assessment of your situation.

To schedule an appointment with a divorce lawyer at our family law offices in Grand Rapids, please call (616) 285-0808 or send us a message online today.