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Who is at risk for a gray divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2019 | Divorce |

As the Institute for Family Studies points out, gray divorces are on the rise with baby boomers leading the pack for most divorces over 50. Facts such as this lead many older married couples to wonder, are their marriages in trouble? If you worry about the state of your Texas marriage, IFS’s gray divorce statistics may interest you, as many yield common patterns among divorcing couples.

As the IFS report indicates, more than one-third of gray divorces occur among couples who are in marriages of over 30 years. That rate drops to just 12 percent for those who have celebrated their 40 anniversary. However, that is not to say that if you and your spouse have been together for more than three decades but not quite four you will get divorced, and nor does it mean that if your marriage has lasted for more than 40 years you are in the clear. As the study goes on to further explain, there are a lot of nuances when it comes to gray divorce statistics.

The most common explanations for gray divorce have to do with empty-nesting, retirement and lack of education, but as IFS points out, those factors rarely influence older couples’ decisions to divorce. Rather, the study — which observed the marital accounts of more than 5,000 older couples — revealed that property ownership and wealth had a significant impact on a couple’s future together. Couples who owned property together were more likely to stay together. Moreover, those with more than $250,000 in assets were 38 percent less likely to part ways than those whose assets totaled less than $50,000. 

Another factor that influences gray divorce is remarriage. Findings revealed that the divorce rates for first time unions was less than half that for second or subsequent unions. Interestingly, though marriages of 40 years or more were less likely to end, remarried couples that fell into this category were three times more likely to divorce than those in their first marriages.

Another factor researchers studied was quality time together. Though the data on this factor is limited, evidence does suggest that how couples allocate their free time together and how much they enjoyed that time may play a role in whether or not they stay together through their gray years.

This content is for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice.