What You Need To Know About A Grey Divorce

Understand the many impacts.

Years ago, the vast majority of couple who weren’t happy in their relationship chose to remain married out of convenience or routine, or even a sense of familiarity. But over the past few years, many are deliberately choosing to part ways.

What is Grey Divorce?

Grey Divorce is basically Divorce that occurs after a long marriage (typically 20-25+. years of marriage). It is on the rise and has been on the rise for the past 5-10 years. Exhibit A – Bill & Melinda Gates.

Via: BBC

When the term was first coined, it referred to men and women who divorced after 40 years or more of marriage. The assumption was that anyone married for that long must be an older adult “starting to gray,” hence the name.

But these days, it’s more commonly used to refer to the divorce wave among baby boomers, regardless of the length of their marriage or the color of their hair.

Why get divorced so late in a marriage? 

People are more conscious and intentional about their life choices, they possibly have “Empty Nest Syndrome” or are retired and may want to be free. Women are also more empowered than ever (they initiate 70% of the time, likely because in many cases they carry more of the emotional burden in marriage and are more confident/independent later in life), many couples are choosing consciously to remain together to raise their children, and then consciously choose to go their own way.

It’s like the closing of a chapter, and the opening of a new one for both. Also, there is less stigma around this.

Family Impacts

Just as when kids are young, it all depends on “how” the divorce is framed, communicated, and then executed (i.e. healthy, calm, and respectful vs. angry and vengeful, the latter of course causing distress), the same happens here. The difference is that kids are grown up in these scenarios.

They are either in college or have moved out or are married and started families of their own, so its possibly slightly easier on them. Most kids beyond a certain age just want their parents to be happy, even though we all hope for that “vision” of a family to have both parents together, etc.

Biggest considerations in Grey Divorce

Financial and Social are the biggest concerns. So those need to be in order before getting divorced. Finances can be tricky to handle, especially when one spouse may have challenges managing them. And if one of the partners has been earning all of the money in the household and therefore has made all of the decisions involving money, problems may arise when divorcing.  Also, what needs to be paid off is debt etc.

Then it’s also harder to divorce later in life because as we age, we are at higher risk for loneliness. It’s important to invest in our social circles now and forever, so we can have our peers/friends as company and not have to stay with someone for money or for company.

As we get very old, it even becomes risky even to live alone, so these are all factors need to be considered and the decision to get divorced must be thought through.