Your Hometown Lawyers
Photo of Michelle R. Harrison and Chadwick D. Medlin

Exploring The Gray Divorce Phenomenon in Georgia

An increasing number of people over the age of 50 are filing for divorce across the nation, fueling the gray divorce phenomenon.

The gray divorce phenomenon is sweeping the nation, as more people over the age of 50 are filing for divorce than ever before. In fact, by the year 2030, it is estimated that 800,000 couples will file for gray divorce each year, according to a study conducted by Bowling Green State University. In 2009, one in four divorces involved people over the age of 50, which is a substantial increase from the one in 10 gray divorces that occurred in 1990. For some Georgia couples, there are many benefits to getting separated after retirement, including spousal support. However, gray divorce can affect a person’s financial stability and family life as well.

Reasons for an increase in gray divorce

The reason for seeking a separation after 30 or 40 years of marriage is unique to the specific circumstances of each relationship. However, there are a few common trends among gray divorcees in Georgia and across the country. These include:

  • Employment opportunities: With more employment opportunities, men and women who were financially dependent on their spouse may be able to find a job and break free from an unhappy marriage.
  • Improved economy: An improved economy has helped couples who were once unable to financially afford a divorce. Many people now have the funds available to terminate their marriage, according to Bloomberg.
  • Empty nest syndrome: Couples who build their entire relationship around their children may find it difficult to relate to one another once the kids have left the home.
  • Longer lifespan: The baby boomer generation is aging, and advanced medical technology has made it possible for people to live long and healthy lives. Now, the average person can live 20 to 30 years after retirement. Couples who are involved in an unhappy marriage may decide to live the remainder of their lives apart.

There is simply no need for many people to stay in a marriage that does not suit them for whatever reason.

Implications of gray divorce

For some couples, it can be extremely difficult to separate assets, property, retirement and debt after being interdependent for decades. Spouses who are not able to make ends meet may have to file for government assistance or be left in poverty as a result of divorce. Gray divorcees are also more likely to have serious medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis and COPD, and may have trouble affording their care.

Gray divorce can affect a couple’s relationship with their children and grandchildren, even though they are no longer living with them. The divorcing couple may use their children as an intermediary to discuss matters of their separation. Some children may feel emotionally abandoned by their parents and choose to remove themselves from the relationship altogether, according to the Chicago Tribune. Other children may be expected to care for their parents after the divorce.

When to call an attorney

Fortunately, you don’t have to go through the overwhelming divorce process alone. An established attorney in Georgia can provide vital legal counsel during the divorce and can guide you through the process, making sure that you receive everything that you are entitled to.

Keywords: gray divorce, retirement, assets