The rate of gray divorces, or divorces among individuals who are 50 years old or older, has been increasing. However, California couples may be interested to know that the factors that contribute to these splits may not be what they think.
Even though the number of gray divorces has doubled over the last three decades, increasing at a higher rate than that for individuals between the ages of 25 to 29, it is still not as high. In fact, the divorce rate for those under the age of 50 is twice the rate for those over the age of 50.
According to a 2016 research paper, gray divorces are not typically caused by the couple's children leaving the home when they become adults, the educational background of the spouses, the retirement of either spouse or a chronic illness. The actual factors that contribute to gray divorces include whether the couple owns property together and if they possess assets that are valued over $250,000.
In addition to indicating how economic resources factored into gray divorces, a 2012 study also showed that the divorce rate for older couples in their first marriage was less than half the rate of couples who had previously been married. For those married 40 years or more, the gray divorce rate was nearly three times the rate for remarried couples than that for couples married for the first time.
The divorce legal issues that estranged older couples have to deal with typically revolve around the division of marital property. Even though California is a community property state, the couple's respective attorneys can often assist with the negotiation of a settlement agreement that does not necessary divide property equally but which the parties are satisfied with.