You often hear people talk about the rising divorce rate in the United States, but the statistics actually paint a much different picture. The divorce rate did rise at the start of no-fault divorce laws, which happened in the late 60s and 70s. Many people who say that it is still rising are simply repeating this information, even though it hasn’t been true for decades. The divorce rate is falling for the vast majority of Americans, in part because cohabitation before marriage is more common.
However, there is still one age group for which the divorce rate is going up, and it contains those who are 50 years old and older. For those between 18 and 49, the rate is falling, but these older couples are still seeing an increase in the dissolution of their marriages. Why could this be?
Longer life expectancy
Life expectancy has increased as a general rule, at least over the decades. The last few years may have seen a decrease, but people are typically living far longer than they used to, which simply gives them more time for a divorce.
Children moving out
Many people in this age group also have just had their children leave for college. They have become empty-nesters, and this can sometimes show them that their marriage was not doing well. They may simply have not noticed because they were so focused on being parents.
Finally, a lot of older generations grew up feeling like divorce was taboo. Younger generations do not share this, so the stigma has changed. People may feel more free to get a divorce now, even if they wanted it before.
If you’re approaching a divorce, take the time to look at all of your legal options. You have a right to choose a path that makes you happier.