While overall divorce rates have declined over the past 20 years, filings for divorce by people over 50 years old have risen steadily. Why are middle age spouses who have been together for decades starting to see divorce as a new path forward for them? As with almost all human relationships the reasons for a permanent split can be complicated, but my personal experience with older clients has revealed that it is not a matter of spouses being unhappier since the beginning of the millennium, but more so that divorce has become less “taboo” among baby boomers.
A grey divorce (sometimes called a gray divorce or a silver splitter) was relatively rare a generation ago (among the parents of the baby boomers) due to several factors:
- Society in general frowned upon a husband and wife ending their marriage, especially if the couple had younger children to raise. People thought it was selfish for one spouse to leave their family behind in pursuit of personal happiness. Fast forward to today and people think that staying in an unhappy marriage “for the kids’ sake” is more selfish than getting divorced and moving on.
- Women have more options today than a generation ago. No longer does a woman have to move back home with mom & dad if the marriage does not last. She has the financial means to support herself, which is a reason that women and men are getting married later in life.
- Kids of divorced parents have adjusted to a new family dynamic and have thrived despite warnings that the children would be devastated.
- The Covid-19 pandemic reminds us yet again that life is short, and the pursuit of personal happiness is not selfish.
Special Considerations I Look for With My Grey Divorce Clients
Spouses who have been married for decades typically have grown children, so things like child custody and visitation plans are not involved. Instead, what I have found is that more financial planning is necessary due to the higher value of assets the couple owns together. These assets can include a large home, vacation rental properties, and 401K retirement accounts. Some spouses own a family business together and one party wants to divest all interests in the business.
And while the couple’s children are grown and living independently (the empty nester phase) their parents want to make sure their kids remain the sole beneficiaries on any wills the couple has as opposed to one spouse remarrying another divorced parent and unintentionally transferring some or all assets to their new stepchildren.
Call me today at (404) 980-9096 to learn how to file a grey divorce in Georgia.