Supposedly, there has been an overall decrease in divorce among couples under age 30. Your own situation, however, may be quite different. If you live in Texas, are past age 50, have been married 20 or more years, have children (maybe grandchildren) and are currently going through divorce, you may be facing challenges similar to the experiences others have gone through. So many people your age and older have divorced that experts have coined this new colloquial term: gray divorce.
Current stats on gray divorce
When you think of the word gray, divorce may not be the first thing that crosses your mind. However, the following ideas relate to older people choosing to end their marriages:
- Approximately one quarter of all divorces in the nation involve one or more parties over age 50.
- Studies show that divorces among people your age or older have doubled in the past two decades.
- While the national divorce average among those aged 30 or younger continues to decrease, divorces past age 50 are on the rise.
If you've already shared with others your plans to divorce, you may be well aware that some were shocked and confused by your announcement. You can't change anyone's actions, but you do have control over your own reactions. What you do and say may be crucial to your ability to move toward a successful future.
Do these three stages sound familiar?
Some say there are three specific phases you will likely go through if you divorce a spouse to whom you have been married 20 or more years:
- Surviving: Divorce is seldom easy, and in your case, after decades of marriage and advancement in age, may be all the more challenging. Shared experiences, memories of raising children together, as well as financial issues regarding bank accounts, retirement plans and day-to-day living needs can be complex and cause for contention between you and your soon-to-be former spouse. Forging ahead with your plan takes courage, diligence and perseverance.
- Reviving: You know you've entered this phase when your thought process shifts from "we" to "I" when creating new life goals and making plans for the future. At some point, you stop allowing the past to hinder your enjoyment in life and determine your own readiness to move on.
- Thriving: Before you know it, you may be well on your way to building a life that includes new places, people and experiences. By making informed decisions and being proactive in finding solutions to any lingering issues, you can accomplish your goals and look forward to the years ahead.
You may be in the middle of any one of these phases or another stage of divorce progression not mentioned here. If you hit a roadblock as you take steps to achieve an agreeable outcome, you are certainly not alone. Others have experienced similar problems and have sought support through various means.
Options available to you
Consider the following support networks that may help you address any divorce issue causing impediment to your progress in life:
- Trusted confidant: If there's a family member or friend you trust, you can take comfort in knowing you've got a shoulder to lean on when times get tough.
- Minister: A faith leader in your community may be able to provide encouragement and needed support to help you through this challenging time in your life.
- Licensed counselor: If you feel unable to find emotional closure regarding a particular issue, you can seek help through professional counseling.
- Family law attorney: A skilled and experienced attorney can help you explore all legal options available to obtain a swift and agreeable divorce settlement and can alleviate stress and help you avoid emotional outbursts by acting on your behalf in court.
Any or all of the above resources may be at your disposal as you come to terms with divorce over 50 and move toward a happy, successful future.