Older Illinois couples who are considering ending their marriages should know that the rate for gray divorces, or divorces for individuals aged 50 or older, has been increasing. They may also be surprised to learn about the factors that are contributing to this.

Although the gray divorce rate is two times what it was 30 years ago, it is still not high, particularly when it is compared to the rate for other age groups. For example, the divorce rate for people under 50 years old is twice the rate for those who are older than 50.

The events that are causing gray divorces are not what one may automatically think. Children leaving the home, the retirement of a spouse, educational backgrounds of the spouses or chronic illness are not always contributing factors. According to a 2016 research paper from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, it is issues that pertain to economic resources that seem to correlate with gray divorces.

The 2016 study examined the marital backgrounds of over 5,000 couples that had one spouse that was born before 1960. The researchers noted that having financial security was a safeguard against a divorce later in life. A 2012 study conducted by the NCFMR also found that economic resources were a significant factor in the occurrence of gray divorces.

A family law attorney can often assist a client with resolving complicated and contentious divorce legal issues. While child custody is usually not a concern for older couples, property division can be significant and challenging, and an attorney could help a client in negotiating a settlement agreement.