We have all heard of empty nest syndrome — when grown children leave the home, parents are left to realign their lives and rediscover one another as spouses. Sadly, as some Illinois residents can attest, this does not always go as planned, and more and more experts are pointing to the empty nest as a key cause of late-life or “gray” divorce. The challenges faced by those attempting late-life divorce are unique and require special support to overcome.

With life expectancy on the rise, it is not uncommon for men and women to live into their 70s and 80s, sometimes longer. With this in mind, many individuals do not wish to continue on in loveless marriages for 20 or 30 years past when their children move out of the family home. As a result, gray divorce has become a popular trend, but some observers believe it is the very experience of children departing that can push spouses apart.

When couples do agree to divorce later in life, certain challenges arise unique to the age group. While child support is rarely an issue in the case of gray divorce, alimony and other forms of spousal support can become contested issues. Considering the number of single-income partnerships in this age demographic, those who have been out of the work force for years may require more compensation to maintain a standard of living to which they’ve become accustomed.

Gray divorce isn’t easy, as some Illinois residents are already aware. However, support is available for older couples seeking a way out of a marriage that just isn’t working any more. A comprehensive understanding of each individual’s rights and responsibilities under state law can go a long way toward assuring an equitable solution.

Source: commdiginews.com, “Empty nest divorce: the kids are gone and so is the magic“, Myra Fleischer, May 10, 2014