Midlife Divorce: A Glimpse at the Growing Band of Middle-Aged Divorcees

Couple discussing divorce

Overall divorce rates are lower than they were in previous years. Interestingly, the number of middle-aged couples choosing to go their separate ways have gone up. As spouses in their 50s search for a family law attorney to get their divorce in order, there have been several reports that a midlife divorce was simply a blinding epiphany. Instead, it was more of a slow trickle of emotions that eventually culminated in the decision to untie the knot.

A New Chapter: The Increasing Financial Independence of Women

For a largely female group of divorcees, entering the 50s and 60s is less about the start of old age and more about the beginning of a new chapter. Statistics show that a majority of women consider “starting a new life” synonymous with “ending their marriage.” Since more women are the breadwinners of the family and are less financially dependent on their spouses than in the past, women have more courage to reinvent their lives instead of staying in an unhappy marriage.

A Lack of the Divorce Stigma Gives Couples more Liberty to Call Off an Unhappy Marriage

While one could say that the frequency of midlife divorce these days could be an extension of the women’s liberation revolution, wives are not the only ones calling off their marriage. While studies show that middle-aged female divorcees thrive post-divorce, men also initiate divorce in some cases, while others trade in their ex-wife for a younger model. While splitting up can be a traumatic experience regardless of who made the decision, ex-spouses are finding more courage to rebuild their lives and start anew.

The Road Ahead: The Rise of Gray Divorce

Divorces don’t end after spouses reach 50, though. Reports show that while divorce becomes less common among younger couples, more couples are choosing to break their marital vows at retirement. Reports say gray divorce rates have doubled since the 1990s. Often, the decision to file for divorce during retirement is a lot easier when there are no kids or custody issues involved.

Gone are the days when spouses would stay in an unsatisfactory marriage. These days, middle-aged men and women are embracing more ways to cut off ties with their spouses and start again.