Gray Divorce: Why Older Couples are Getting Divorced

Gray Divorce: Why Older Couples are Getting Divorced

While the divorce rate in younger couples has decreased in the past couple of decades, one divorce statistic has risen steadily: “gray divorce.” In 2021, the United States Census Bureau reported the divorce rate for adults between the ages of 55-60 was at a record high of 43%, leaving this age group with the highest divorce rate of married adults over the age of 20. But why is this happening?

Gray divorce is a term used to describe the increased divorce rate in older couples who have been in long-term marriages, and it isn’t just happening in the United States. Countries worldwide have seen the divorce rate of married adults 55 and older increase. In some countries, the rate has quadrupled.

As a result, multiple generations are feeling the effects of gray divorce. This article will discuss some common reasons why older couples choose to divorce.

Financial Troubles

Money issues are problematic regardless of the married couple’s age. However, the pressure rises when you are still having financial troubles later in life.

It can be easier to recoup your financial losses earlier in life than when you’re closer to retirement. So when you’re closer to retirement and one partner chooses to overspend or makes poor investment decisions that can lead to losing money from the couple’s nest egg can lead you down the path to divorce.


When either partner physically or emotionally cheats on their partner, the loss of trust and the feelings of betrayal can begin to build.

In today’s day and age, we are more connected to the world than in the past. So when the sexual desires of one partner exceed those of the other partner, it’s easy to get online and find a dating website with members looking for married “sugar daddies” or “cougars” who are willing to fill that void you feel in your marriage.


Regardless of age, changing life circumstances can be more than some people can bear. When this happens, some people will turn to things like alcohol, drugs, pornography, or gambling to escape life. When these “escapes” turn into addictions, it can significantly strain the marriage. These addictions can cause one partner to lie to the other, alienate their spouse, or waste marital funds, all of which can lead to divorce.

Women Want More Independence

Women are continually building successful careers and want more of a say in their finances. With this newfound success, they are leaving bad marriages to live a happier, more independent life, especially with retirement on the horizon.

Empty Nest Syndrome

Young couples tend to have children, family activities, pets, and other activities to keep them busy. However, after your children have grown and moved out, you may not be as interested in all the extra activities you used to take part in.

You may find yourself spending time in a home that’s just too quiet now. As you sit at home with your spouse, you realize that not only have you changed, but your spouse has too. That can lead to the realization that you’re no longer interested in spending time with that person anymore.


You’ve worked your entire adult life. So when it comes time to retire, you lose part of who you are. Even if you’re excited at the idea of not working anymore, it can leave a void. You may find that you are lashing out at your spouse more often, or you may even become depressed.

Longer Lifespans

People are living longer than they have before. You’ve reached your golden years when you expected to lay back and relax into retirement. But, unexpectedly, you’re feeling more energetic and want to pursue what makes you happy. If your spouse doesn’t share that luster for life as you do, that can be a problem.

No Longer in Love

Young love is passionate, and you feel like nothing can come between you. Unfortunately, sometimes that spark dies, and you fall out of love with the person you thought you’d always be with.

If one spouse is unhappy, it’s likely the other spouse is as well. And knowing there are many years before them, older people are getting out of a bad marriage to seek that spark they lost.

Choose a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney Who Listens

Even the most amicable divorce can require a substantial amount of work to go through decades of assets. If you or a loved one is considering divorce later in life, seeking legal counsel from an experienced divorce attorney is essential.

Hunter Fowler is a Murfreesboro attorney who will listen to you and guide you through the divorce process. Hunter understands that divorce can be very emotional and scary, so open, honest communication is his number one priority. He will fight for your best interest and help you achieve your desired outcome.

Contact Hunter today for a consultation.