Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

UNDERSTANDING THE GRAY DIVORCE PHENOMENON

Many people believe that once a couple has been married for an extended period of time, it is very unlikely that they will part. Through years of being together, they discovered how to handle marriage situations that may arise. However, even couples who have been married for decades may grow apart and decide to terminate their marriage. When people over the age of 50 file for divorce, it is termed 'gray divorce,' and this trend has been growing significantly through the years.

According to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, approximately 2.8% of people over the age of 50 filed for divorce about 50 years ago. By 2011, this number increased to 15.4% and the number continues to climb. Why are more people filing for divorce now?

One reason may be the growing number of women in the workforce. Many women are more financially independent and have the option of leaving a bad marriage, where once they may have felt financially obligated to stay with their husbands.

Some couples, who have built their marriage around raising kids, may feel that once the kids have left the house, they no longer have anything in common. Furthermore, people in America are living longer, and rather than stay in an unhappy marriage, they have the option of leaving and starting over. This is also true when couples retire and are forced to spend extra time with one another. They may find that they are no longer compatible after they have spent most of their marriage preoccupied with their careers.

There are issues to consider when dealing with gray divorce, including finances and division of property.

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  • SCBA | Santa Clara County Bar Association | EST 1917
  • State Bar Of California | California Board Of Legal Specialization | Stephen W. Penn
  • Henry P. Collada Memorial Award 2012