Though the rate of divorce has declined over the past two decades, studies have shown that separations among couples over the age of 50 are on the rise. In the United States, for example, the rate of ‘gray divorces” has doubled between 1990 and 2010. Couples are getting divorced at older ages despite the possible difficulty associated with splitting a larger number of assets (which, in North Carolina, must be equitably distributed).
There are several reasons why more couples may be seeking divorce at an older age. For one, Americans nowadays have a longer life expectancy, which means that many people can expect to live longer after retiring A longer retirement also means couples spend more time with each other, which is not appealing to those in unhappy relationships.
Therapists also note that couples who have been married at least 20 years can grow apart emotionally. Though this may not have been enough of a reason for couples of an older generation to split up, the diminished social stigma of divorce has made it easier for people to extricate themselves from unhappy relationships.
Additionally, couples may find it easier to get a divorce after their children have grown up and left the home, particularly if this departure means that the parents must now spend more time with each other. Women over 50 may also find it easier to leave if they have gained more financial independence.
Though getting divorced at an older age may be challenging, couples do not have to go through it alone. An experienced family law attorney with knowledge of North Carolina law can be a great asset in navigating the dissolution process.