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What is gray divorce?: An introduction

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2021 | Divorce |

Gray divorce occurs when long-time spouses decide to split. These separations are surprising to those closest to us. The reality is, statistically, older couple divorces have doubled in the last three decades.

Age and health

These decades-long marriages often disintegrate as couples go through life changes. Conditions like menopause and impotence can cause spouses to drift apart. The relationship dynamic shifts as each partner develop a conflicting set of values and ventures. Spouses lose appreciation for each other, becoming lonely and frustrated.


Our busy lives often obscure emotional barriers. Suddenly finding ourselves together all the time can reveal how much we and our feelings for each other have changed. It’s a situation some couples aren’t ready for. Many older couples find ways to maneuver through the rough patch. Many do not.

Taking different paths

As we mature, our values and goals will change and conflict. He wants to play golf and watch television. She wants to get in shape and travel. They’re disagreeing more than usual or not speaking at all. Support for one another diminishes. The gap in the relationship stretches until the spouses no longer rely on each other.


As we age, it’s not unusual to seek relief from our obligations. We’re happy to see the kids go off, to leave behind that job. Sometimes, this thinking seeps into our spousal commitment. It may have begun as “happily ever after,” but couples find themselves locked in “why?”

Money issues

Finances are a major reason any marriage can hit the fan. It’s no different for long-lasting marriages. Income drops and comes in slower, but troubling spending habits may not adjust to the new circumstances. One spouse may find themselves spending too freely as they strive for a sense of independence. Money is the root of many rifts between spouses, especially older ones.

Divorce becomes the word

The gray divorce can be complex. Often, long marriages that end in breakups are high-end. These couples have shared assets for decades. Now, the union is over. They’re legally obligated to distribute all that they’ve accumulated and shared over the decades or their estate could be subject to distribution determined by a court.

Not surprisingly, the high-end divorce can lead to a volatile, stressful situation. A toxic divorce is a challenge. Maintain your emotional composure and find legal representation you trust to manage your affairs. But, more importantly, take it one day at a time and live your best life.