More Minnesotans above the age of 50 are choosing to divorce, a phenomenon that is widely shared across the United States. So-called “gray divorces” involve people over 50 choosing to end their marriages. The term is applied equally to those who are ending multi-decade partnerships and those who are ending shorter, often second or third, marriages.
Since the mid-1990s, divorce rates for Americans of all ages have generally stabilized and, in some cases, declined. However, divorces by over-50 Americans have doubled since the mid-1990s. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, including the fact that there are more people over 50 and they are living longer, healthier lives.
While there were only 63.5 people in the United States over 50 in 1990, in 2010, there were 99 million of the same age. This number is expected to continue to grow along with the divorce rate in the demographic. Aside from the simple numbers, life expectancy and health have risen as well. Between 1950 and 2016, life expectancy for both men and women rose by at least 10 years on average.
When people live longer, healthier lives, they may be less willing to live out those decades in an unhappy marriage. This can be especially true when major issues are involved, including physical or emotional abuse, infidelity, mental health concerns or addiction. While the overall view of marriage and divorce has changed over the years, many people over 50 still choose to divorce over these serious problems.
Divorce over 50 can also come with major concerns, especially about how to recover financially following the asset division that accompanies the end of a marriage. A family law attorney can work with a divorcing spouse of any age to pursue a fair settlement that protects their rights in terms of property division, spousal support and other matters.