Divorces of people aged 50 and over -- such as that of the recent news of the impending divorce of Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito -- are referred to as gray divorces, after the hair color of many of those affected. These divorces do not involve complications of child support and child custody that may occur in divorces of younger people. They are already done raising their children and no longer have to focus on what is in the interests of their children.
These divorces may involve spousal support and division of assets that the couple has accumulated over the years. Sociologists have reported that the number of such divorces has doubled in the past two decades. Experts attribute this increase to the fact that this generation, the baby boomer generation, entered into marriage for personal fulfillment and not for financial reasons or the goal to become a good wife or husband.
The decision to divorce typically occurs after the children of these long-term married couples leave the home. Couples realize that they are not happy in the relationship. They realize that they may no longer share the same interests and values and are free to live their separate lives because the family dynamics have changed. A large portion of these divorces are initiated by women.
Additionally, women are no longer intimidated by financial factors that may have deterred them from seeking their independence in the past. Older couples may also feel a sense of hope that they will find someone else since online dating and other methods of meeting people are more acceptable these days.
In any case, many experts recommend couples counseling before going forward with a divorce. This can be helpful to determine whether to stay together or move forward with a divorce after a relationship that has been decades in the making.
Source: CBS News, "Gray Divorces Increasing Sharply," Oct. 13, 2012