Divorce is becoming more common among older couples. According to a Pew Research Center report, for those over the age of 50, the divorce rate has doubled since the 1990s.
Some believe part of the divorce spike is because people are living longer. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.8 years. With nearly thirty years ahead of them, people simply do not want to stay in relationships that make them unhappy. Pew also points out that baby boomers had high levels of divorce earlier on in their lives, so divorce just does not have as much of a stigma as it used to.
Though it is a much more accepted part of the culture, divorce still has a significant impact on a person's life. Some of these consequences uniquely affect older people that divorce.
The financial impact can be considerable
Anyone going through a divorce typically experiences an impact on their financial situation. However, those that marry and divorce later in life, may decide to have children later too. This could mean putting your children through college when you are in your 70s. For women who have children later, they may also decide to leave work to raise their children. Trying to re-enter the workforce is tough for many mothers who have taken time off. It can be particularly hard for a mother is also over 50. Though discriminating against someone based on age is illegal, it certainly still occurs.
These things will likely take a toll on your finances, particularly when you are supporting yourself after a divorce. It could even affect how much money you are able to save toward retirement.
It may hurt family relationships
Adult children can probably handle you and your former spouse splitting up. However, it might be tougher for grandchildren. Young children generally have more difficulty understanding divorce. Grandchildren will be used to seeing grandma and grandpa together, so having to see them separately and explain what is going on can be difficult. If you do remarry, your adult children may struggle as well, if they decide they do not like your new spouse.
Living alone can be difficult
Younger people that divorce may still have children at home. As an older person, you likely will be living by yourself after you divorce. Many people enjoy living alone. However, it is easy to start feeling isolated and become depressed. It is important that you have a support network to reach out to after your divorce. That could mean talking to your children regularly on the phone or meeting up with your friends for lunch. Do things that make you happy and get you out of the house on a regular basis.
Getting divorced later in life can present some challenges. It can also prove to be a time of renewal and growth. You can finally take the trip you have been putting off, or sign up for that painting class you have always wanted to take.