Divorce knows no age. It can happen to young couples who just got married or to those who have aged together for decades. Thus, regardless of where spouses are in their lives, divorce presents challenges. However, for those 50 or older, gray divorce often entails particularly unique obstacles.
How to combat late-in-life divorce struggles
Studies show that gray divorce is prevalent among aging boomers born from 1946 to 1964, with triple upswings for 65 and older between 1990 and 2021. The rising numbers stem from a range of reasons – people are living longer and healthier, more career opportunities coming with competitive income and the pandemic exacerbating existing marital conflicts.
After identifying potential root causes, the following are common struggles that soon-to-be ex-couples can anticipate when divorcing later in life:
- Emotional: The emotions may be stronger than usual, considering the length of time a couple shared. The disbelief and grief can be overwhelming because they’ve had interconnected feelings for so long. They may wrestle with the thought that they were almost at their lives’ finish line but would not see it through to the end.
- Financial: Significant wealth and debts jointly built may accumulate over the years. Now, they must follow Louisiana’s community property rules in equally dividing their assets and liabilities while mindful of tax implications.
- Social: Their social networks, such as families, friends, colleagues and neighbors, will inevitably feel the impact of the marriage’s collapse. Some may distance themselves from the situation, while others display compassion and understanding.
- Physical: Aging comes with bodily limitations. As the emotional, financial and social adversities take a toll, the pain and suffering can manifest in illnesses or disorders.
Coping through these challenges is a daunting task. However, it is not impossible. It takes an intentional perspective shift to emerge with a renewed spirit.
Organizing and tracking finances independently, reconnecting with social circles over coffee or dinner, and taking meditation classes for improved physical and mental health can all work wonders. This list is not exhaustive and divorcing couples can find what works best for them. Since the healing process requires a lot of focus and resilience, they can also turn to their chosen support system for guidance and strength.
What a post-gray divorce future can look like
Looking forward to a promising future may be difficult, especially now that things seem bleak. However, both parties must constantly remind themselves that they are also doing this for their adult child, who is equally trying to survive the process. If they communicate openly and reasonably, they can reach a workable agreement on relevant issues. When disputes persist, a trusted legal counsel can walk them through the necessary steps to obtain favorable results, which can help them look forward to retiring confidently and in peace.