Grey divorce may not simply be a passing trend

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Once again it has been a busy day at Stowe Family Law LLP, and this appears to be becoming a trend. Today during a chat with a solicitor at Stowe Family Law I learnt about an interesting trend of current years: Grey Divorces. This concept refers to the growing rate of divorce in long term marriages. The number of men over the age of 60 seeking divorce has gone up by nearly 73% since 1991 according to the Office for National Statistics. This rise can, apparently, be attributed to fact that the UK population is now living longer than they did in 1991. However, can we really blame the higher rate of divorce on the fact that the people are living on average 5 years longer?

This trend is not isolated to the UK, in March 2013 the Washington Post published an article entitled ‘Baby boomers and 50 shades of gray divorce’ which stated that, according to Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin of Bowling Green State University, Ohio, even with the divorce rate declining grey divorces have doubled in the last 20 years with one in four divorced people being over 50 years of age in 2009. 600,000 people aged 50 and older got divorced in 2009 in the USA.

In June and August 2013 Marilyn Stowe wrote two interesting blogs on this very topic: ‘More over 60’s getting divorced, ONS reports’ and ‘American lawyers see surge in grey divorce’, which can be found at http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/tag/grey-divorce/. Marilyn stated that higher numbers of women now work making them less dependent on men for financial support. In combination with the fact that we are now all living longer it would appear that Grey Divorce will not simply be a passing trend. In previous years it has been less possible for women to take the risky option of divorce when they had no finance to fall back on. But with women entering the working world people appear less happy to simply rub along together in an unhappy marriage when they now have the financially viable option of divorce. And with divorce not holding the same stigma as it did in the past people are deciding to opt out instead of sticking with something that may not have been working for a number of years.

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