If you’ve never heard the term ‘grey divorce’ before, it has nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey, that Twilight fan-fiction turned inexplicable worldwide phenomenon. No, grey divorce refers to a different worldwide phenomenon of rising divorce rates for older couples in long-term marriage. In Canada, divorce is rising only among people aged 50 and older, and is becoming increasingly common for those over 65. It is such a common trend that it is referred to as “grey divorce”.

The increase of grey divorce can be attributed to several reasons including changing social attitudes, people living longer, delaying retirement and pushing life events until they are older. Often, couples grow apart or have an unresolved issue that they have previously ignored. Couples will often stay together for the children and are often simply too busy to deal with the nagging issue. Once the children leave home and life begins to slow down, the couple spends more time together and the ignored issues rise to the surface and become a significant problem. Or the couple realizes that they have very different retirement goals and are just not compatible anymore.

Another reason for the rise of grey divorce is that women are in the workforce longer, have their own careers and income and have the ability to leave an unhappy marriage. Unlike the women of previous generations who would have been left penniless by a divorce, women today are no longer confined to marriage out of financial dependence or the social stigma of divorce.

For people with financial resources, grey divorce can bring freedom and independence. However, divorce at an older age can also increase the risk of falling into poverty. It can also present a significant financial challenge to people over the age of 55 because of the complications created by impending retirement. Deciding to divorce today may derail your plan to retire in 3 years. In addition, spousal support calculations and the length of their duration can be quite complicated. If you are over the age of 55 and are considering a divorce, an experienced family lawyer can help you explore your options and decide the best course of action.

To find out more about grey divorce, please contact Jason P. Howie, online or at 519.973.1500.