8 Reasons Why Older Couples Choose to Divorce
The divorce rate for American adults ages 65 to 74 is 39 percent. After sticking with it through many decades of marriage, you may decide that a “gray” divorce is the better choice for your future. Once you have arrived at this decision, a consultation with a New Jersey family law attorney may help you plan for your future and feel at peace about making this big life decision. Here are a few reasons that individuals consider a later-life divorce.
1. Grown Apart
During the earlier years of a marriage, couples often have joint goals related to maintaining their home, raising their children or engaging in some of the same hobbies. Careers also keep them busy. Once the children have left the nest or when one or both spouses retire from their jobs, they often realize that they no longer have those shared goals and have grown apart over the years. Couples who have grown too far apart may prefer to go their separate ways.
2. Poor Health
Not everyone ages gracefully. Many people develop mental or physical health problems, or their existing problems get worse. Hearing loss, poor vision, lack of stamina, chronic breathing disorders, heart disease and incontinence are just a few health issues that are common in older age. Cancer, diabetes and other serious issues also worsen with age. All of these issues affect a marriage. One partner may not be able to deal with the other’s poor health.
For some people, age is just a number. Others feel old and make others feel old as well. Someone who acts old often makes their partner feel old and decrepit. This takes a toll on mental health and increases the physical symptoms of stress, creating a positive feedback loop. You might prefer being on your own to having a spouse who makes you feel elderly.
4. Need for Change
Perhaps you tolerated your partner’s antics or put up with a lot during the previous years of marriage, and you no longer have the patience for it. Maybe you married someone your parents approved of, but who wasn’t your first choice. You may want to enact positive change in your life, and a divorce provides that option. Many people decide to make positive changes for themselves as they get older, and your partner might feel lost or hurt when they see you improving yourself. This also leads to marital stress and divorce.
During your income earning years, the bills were easier to handle. After retirement and when living on a fixed income, one partner’s continued excessive spending may cause financial strife. In some cases, retired married couples disagree on other money-related issues, such as cashing in investments, selling the family home or spending money on travel.
Many older couples enjoy an active intimate life together. However, loss of libido, health problems and changes in physical appearance may make one partner less interested. A loss of intimacy in marriage is a common reason for divorce.
A woman who reached age 65 in 2021 has another 21 years of average life expectancy, and a man has another 19 years. If you’re already miserable, you might not want to spend the rest of your life in an unhappy relationship.
8. Lifestyle Preferences
Some people want to do nothing but relax after retirement. Others want to be more active and travel, engage in new hobbies and more. A disagreement over lifestyle preferences often leads older couples to split.
If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, securing legal representation will help you understand the process and plan your future. To schedule a consultation with a New Jersey family law attorney in our Cherry Hill office, call us at (856) 489-6200. You may also fill out our quick online contact form, and an associate will reach out to you to set up an appointment.