The divorce rate overall has been declining for the past 40 years except
for individuals over 50. “Gray Divorces” are actually on the rise!
It’s not surprising that Bill and Melinda Gates recently announced
they were getting divorced after 27 years. The question is not why they
are getting divorced, but why are so many couples over the age of 50 in
longtime marriages getting divorced?
Well, the pandemic and isolation has made many couples look more closely
at some of the issues that have been eating away at their long-time marriages.
The stigma of divorce has certainly changed since the 50s and 60s. Women
have risen in the workforce and are in stronger positions financially.
For others the kids are grown, and staying together for the sake of the
children is no longer a necessity. For still others, it is thinking about
life expectancy and people living much longer, wondering if they really
want to spend a lifetime in a miserable marriage.
So what is a “Gray Divorce?”
A Gray Divorce refers to a demographic trend that has seen an increase
in the separation or divorce of older couples who have been married for
a long time.
As a New York divorce attorney and mediator, I see older couples with long
marriages divorcing more often these days. The pandemic has added more
stress to these already strained marriages.
Sarah reached out to me early on in the pandemic. She had been a homemaker
for 25 years, raising three children, and now for the last 5 years she
was working from home providing nutrition and Pilates classes online.
She had created quite a following on Tik Toc and was doing very well financially.
Her husband was a trusts and estates attorney, earning a high six-figure salary.
When Sarah called me she said she had come to realize during the pandemic
that this marriage was not working for her anymore. She was not sleeping
in the same bed with her husband, and there was no love or affection.
He had his own life and she had her own life. She explained to me living
this way wasn’t enough for her, and she felt she deserved better!
Sarah wanted to feel loved, cared for, and excited to be alive. She did
discuss these feelings with her husband numerous times, asked him to attend
a therapy session, but he wasn’t interested and seemed to be content.
She called to ask me about mediation and after our consultation, she discussed
mediation with her husband. He agreed to participate in the mediation
process and they were able to successfully agree on how they would proceed
with their divorce.
The couple had hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets, including securities
accounts and real estate. Since this was a long marriage, they agreed
assets and pensions would be divided fairly and Sarah was able to remain
in the family home.
Since the children were over 21, the couple did not have to deal with child
support or custody in their agreement. They made amicable visitation arrangements
so they could both spend time with their 11-year-old family dog, a labradoodle
It takes sophisticated legal advice to plan a late-life divorce. As a seasoned
divorce attorney for over 35 years and mediator with psychological training,
I have the unique skills necessary to guide you through this type of divorce.
Sometimes I engage the assistance of my litigation partner and a team of
experts which consists of trust and estate attorneys, accountants, tax
lawyers and financial advisors, to make sure all issues are thoroughly
If you are thinking of divorce, call me, I can help you!
Don’t stay in a long-term unhappy, unhealthy marriage that’s
just dragging on and on…
Life is short and meant to be lived happily!
All our Free One-Hour Consultations are informative and conveniently conducted
virtually to continue to reduce risk.
I look forward to speaking with you.
Stay healthy and safe!
Call New York Attorney Lois Brenner Now to help you with your “Gray
Schedule your FREE consultation now!
Immediate and discreet consultations are available upon your request.