Statistics show a decline in divorce over the past decade. Those numbers have a lot of factors at play behind them, but a fascinating piece of the puzzle is the age at which people are divorcing today.
As millennials have aged, they’ve also bumped up the average age of a first marriage, and with interesting results: they’re getting divorced less in their first 10 years of marriage than ever before. That’s significant, considering that first decade of matrimony has long been the standard for when divorce is most likely to happen.
Meanwhile, gray divorce is on the rise, with couples over 50 seeing higher rates than ever. The rate remains lower than divorces among people under 50, but it’s nevertheless growing in spite of the risks.
The odds aren’t in favor of 50+ divorcees
Younger couples have an easier time processing and managing post-divorce life, and it’s for a mostly obvious reason: it’s much easier to get back on your feet and restart when you’re young. Older couples who have spent decades building a life and financial portrait together often receive a shock after a split. Some have been out of a career for years, and may have a hard time wading back into working life.
Assets aren’t always an even split, and one party or both may experience significant setbacks.
Why the discrepancy?
Millennial partnerships are more frequently preceded by cohabitation, which might be a factor in the age divide. Having more time to feel out whether a relationship is right for both parties might contribute to the lowered divorce rate among that demographic, since they’re less likely to jump into marriage blindly or out of societal pressure. Their older counterparts, on the other hand, often did just that.
No shame in starting over
Gray divorce requires different planning and considerations. Fortunately, because the numbers are higher, there are more resources than ever before for navigating a divorce later in life. People are recognizing that there is no shame in making a meaningful change regardless of age, and with the right support, the transition can be much smoother.