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The ‘Grey’ Divorce: Why is it Becoming More Common to get Divorced at an Older Age


grey divorce image

Statistics clearly show that it is now far more common for people to get a divorce at an older age – the “grey” divorce. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the nature of romantic relationships has changed, but is perhaps indicative of a more accepting and liberal society.

An Irish Divorce

In an article for the Washington Post, Brigid Schulte detailed how her grandparents had lived separate lives without getting a legal divorce and referred to the situation as an “Irish divorce”. This is a term that describes couples who, because of societal pressures, decide not to pursue divorce formally, but instead just to live apart.

This type of separation would not show up on official statistics, but now because such societal pressures are seen as archaic the number of people who once felt them feel free to divorce legally.

Compounding Factors

Societal pressures, of course, are not the only reason that grey divorce is on the rise, people are also living longer and there are more of us. There is also divorce from second marriages, which don’t tend to last as long as first marriages, to be accounted for.

All of these compounding factors will have an impact on the statistics. What is more of a concern, however and particularly for women, is the financial repercussions that getting divorced later in life has the potential for.

The Financial Implications

The financial implications of divorce can be a major concern for those involved and ensuring that factors concerning these are dealt with equitably should be a priority. Those who are going through the process of divorce later in life will likely have accrued more savings and have more capital tied up in property, pensions and other investments.

As the financial landscape of older couple’s lives are much more intertwined and more complex, the process of coming to an agreement about how they should be split can be difficult. So, seeking an amicable settlement that is facilitated by expert legal counsel is paramount to the financial stability and future wellbeing of both parties.

This is particularly important for women, as they tend not to have as much capital in their pension funds or savings as that of their husbands.

Grey divorce is on the rise and can be of great concern to those involved, but with the right help and once the dust has settled there is cause for optimism. For some, the process will a liberating one and one which will allow those involved to begin a new life, letting them shine in their golden years.

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