Compared with earlier generations, there has been a significant rise in the number of people who are getting divorced in their 50s, 60s and beyond. Several different factors have contributed to this trend.
One reason is that baby boomers have expectations for marriage quite different from those of their parents or grandparents. They want someone who is a friend and companion as well as a good husband or wife, and with people living longer, healthier lives, many are unwilling to spend several more decades in a relationship that dissatisfies them.
The empty nest
Some married couples become more distant when they face an empty nest. In many cases, both individuals have focused more on their children than on each other, and when the children grow up and leave home, the parents may find they have little else in common any longer.
Some of the reasons older adults get divorced are the same as those of younger people, including infidelity, substance abuse issues or arguments over money. The greater financial independence of women may also be a factor, particularly since women file for divorce in larger numbers than men do. With the stigma of divorce and dissolution of marriagesignificantly reduced, people are far less willing to simply put up with intrinsic personal differences than they may once have been.
Most older adults probably do not have to deal with child custody negotiations, but other issues may arise that are specific to their age group, including how to continue paying for college for children who are still in school. Retirement is a particular issue for older adults, especially since they have fewer years left in the workforce to make up for any financial difficulties caused by the divorce. In addition, the process of property division may be more complex after sharing assets for decades. Older individuals considering divorce should seek legal counsel concerning these matters.