Gray Divorce Means More Seniors are Living Alone

1Gray Divorce Means More Seniors are Living Alone

Some people think that divorce only happens to younger couples. Unfortunately, divorce is something that can occur to anyone at any stage of life. With more and more of the United States population in the over-65 category, it is not surprising that divorce is occurring with some frequency among the senior population. This means that more seniors are living alone. There has been a continued increase in the number of gray divorces in the country.


What is Gray Divorce?

Gray divorce generally refers to couples who divorce after the age of 50. As the U.S. population is aging, many people are choosing to end their marriages, even those long-term unions. The divorce rate for those over the age of 50 has been on the rise. The rate actually doubled between 1990 and 2010 and continues to rise. According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University (NCFMR), about a third of divorces occur with people over the age of 50. Another study also found that divorce among those aged 65 and over is rising.


Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How long does getting a divorce take?” 


Why are There More Gray Divorces?

There is an increase in gray divorce for a variety of reasons. Some couples have been putting off divorce for years, sometimes waiting until the children are out of the home before splitting. Some people over the age of 50 realize that they are unhappy and wish to seek a better lifestyle for their golden years. Some prefer to live alone rather than to continue to live in a relationship in which they are not happy. There is less stigma associated with divorce than there was in past eras, and divorce is easier than ever to attain. North Carolina allows for no-fault divorce, so neither party needs to blame the other for a failed marriage.



Seeking a Gray Divorce

The divorce process is the same regardless of your age. North Carolina law requires that a couple live apart for a period of one year before they can get divorced. A gray divorce may be slightly more complex than a divorce at a younger age simply because of the larger number of assets and greater wealth that a couple might have accumulated. However, couples may agree as to the distribution of their assets, and they likely have enough money to allow both parties to live a comfortable lifestyle following divorce. There are probably no matters regarding the children to discuss, such as child custody and visitation.


The Decision to Divorce

The decision to divorce can be difficult, particularly for couples who have spent a great number of years together. Both people need to weigh the pros and cons to decide what is the best choice for them. Sometimes, counseling can help couples work through issues to determine whether they want to stay together or end the marriage. An experienced divorce attorney will guide you through the divorce process and help make sure the process is fair. To learn more about divorce, contact our legal team at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.






The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



Separation and Divorce | North Carolina Judicial Branch (

National Center for Family & Marriage Research (NCFMR) (


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