grey divorce

Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne

Al and Tipper Gore

Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman

Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver

Morgan Freeman and Myrna Colley-Lee

What do all these celebrity couples have in common? They’ve all been through, or began, a “grey divorce,” or a dissolution of marriage past the age of 50.

The recent news of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne’s intent to split sent shockwaves throughout the United States. This infamous couple shares a rich history together of nearly 33 years of marriage. Yet their divorce joins a nationwide trend of couples who are deciding to separate well into their older years.

According to the Washington Post, since 1990, grey divorce has more than doubled. Currently, one in four divorcing couples is doing so past age 50. We see it in the mass media with the examples above and you may even have noticed it with someone you know or yourself. What could be at play here?

As divorce loses its social stigma, it’s becoming less and less frowned upon to separate from a partner. Couples, regardless of age or societal norms, are taking the initiative to release themselves from the relationships that aren’t contributing to their lives anymore. It is becoming less shocking for couples to split, which puts the power into their hands to make the decision to seek their own happiness and self-fulfillment.

Couples past 50 no longer feel the compulsion to stay together “for the kids.” At these ages, their children have left home so the attention shifts from raising children back to their relationship. Many couples do not survive this transition, as they are used to being a team in rearing their children. Once the focus goes back to them, it can highlight the ways in which they have grown apart. Many couples find that in their older years, they don’t have any more common ground outside of the children.

There may be financial struggles as they start to plan for retirement, changes in libido that adversely affect the couple’s sexual chemistry or simply boredom that cause older couples to part ways even after so many years spent together. With the wonders of science and the progression of healthcare, the life expectancy we see in the U.S. is higher than it’s ever been. With longer lives and renewed health, I hate to say it but couples can be living long enough to get sick of their partner.

Despite your age, if you are unhappy in a relationship, it is your prerogative to leave it. Divorce is a personal decision to best suit your life. Grey hair or no, if your marriage is hindering your growth, happiness or even safety, it is your right to make the decision that best suits your life.

We, at Garwood Family Law & Mediation, promote marriage. However, if you must face the reality of a divorce, we are here to help make your transition smoothly.