Gray divorce is on the rise, and some experts are scratching their heads. Even more confusing is the fact that many more women than men are seeking a gray divorce. Some estimates show that as many as two-thirds of all gray divorces are initiated by women. What factors contribute to this trend, and what does this statistic mean for the future of divorce in New Jersey and throughout the country?
The Perks of Staying Together
Why is it that many unhappy marriages last until they make it to the “gray divorce phase?”
One theory is that some women may want to stick with the marriage because of what they stand to lose in a divorce. While it has not been studied extensively, some believe mothers are more likely to want to keep the family structure intact for their children. Once the kids are out of the home, usually when the parents are in their fifties or sixties, the mother feels more comfortable initiating a divorce.
Women are also lower earners than their husbands on average. A stay-at-home mother in her 30s may feel that she has no financial options other than staying in the marriage. If she has sacrificed years of work experience to stay at home, she may feel as if she is too far “behind the curve” to financially rebuild after a divorce. Contrary to popular belief, permanent alimony is becoming less and less common. This means that the lower earner in the marriage will have to find a job more quickly after the divorce. So, why do many of these women decide to seek a divorce after age 50? Many have re-entered the workplace at least part-time once their children are old enough to be more self-sufficient. They may feel as if they have found their footing again and are more comfortable dealing with the financial repercussions of the divorce.
A Lack of Intimacy
Why do women file for divorce in their own words? According to one study, over 50% of women who file for divorce in their fifties and beyond cite psychological or emotional neglect. This seems to reinforce the stereotype that emotional intimacy is most important to women, on average. When the connection with their spouse fizzles out, women can’t justify staying in their unhappy marriage. When you take into account the decreased stigma surrounding divorce and longer average lifespans, it makes sense why someone who doesn’t feel connected to their spouse won’t choose to stick it out for life.
Simply Growing Apart
Are you the same person you were at age 20? Probably not – it’s rare to find someone who has not found new interests or created new values as they aged. A couple who gets together when they are young due to shared interests may not maintain those interests after 20+ years of marriage. Once the nest is empty or the couple is retired, they realize they just don’t want to pursue the same hobbies. The couple may be on completely different schedules and have different friends, which means their interactions at home are more like those of roommates than romantic partners. If the woman wants to be with someone who shares her interests, she may initiate the gray divorce in hopes of finding a more suitable partner.
Gray Divorce Lawyers for Men
Why are most divorces initiated by women? This is a complicated question because of how many factors contribute to the decision to file for divorce. Any family law attorney will tell you no two divorces are alike, and men are often left feeling blindsided when their wife wants to call it quits. If your wife recently told you she wants a divorce, choose your attorney wisely. A gray divorce lawyer in New Jersey understands the unique challenges of separating at this life stage.