Divorce in Later Years/Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on June 2, 2013

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Attorney Denise Tamir recently wrote about “Gray Divorce” (divorce among those 50 or older) at mediate.com. The divorce rate among older individuals has risen from 10% in 1990 to 25% in 2013. The change in divorce rate is possibly due to the fact that women earn greater salaries today and are less fearful of life after divorce. In addition, as women live longer lives, they realize that life has much in store for them even as they enter middle age. Why therefore remain in an unhappy relationship? It is also possible that many who divorce in their 50’s have been divorced previously. They know what to expect and do not fear the dissolution process. 

What does this new development mean for society? Divorce is always a traumatic event. However, it is likely the case that older couples who divorce tend to be more rational and less bitter than would be their younger counterparts. Given this theses, it is reasonable to assume that such parties are more likely to see the benefits in divorce mediation and a Win-Win approach to divorce.

There was great surprise registered in many circles when Al and Tipper Gore announced their divorce after many years (seemingly happy) of marriage. One never truly knows what goes on in their neighbor’s household. It should not be a source of surprise when older couples, often married for many years, seek to divorce. Perhaps the takeaway is that life is too precious to be spent in unhappy relationships. More significant is the fact that divorce need not be a “fight to the finish”. Divorce mediation is a key for a civil approach to “gray divorce”. In point of fact, it is also a civil approach to divorce for those who still have not seen the trace of gray in their hair. Win-Win makes sense at all age brackets.

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