"Gray divorces," which are divorces that occur in marriages where the couples are over 50, have been researched by Bowling Green State University and a published study reveals some surprising and alarming results.
Since 1990, the divorce rate in the United States has not changed significantly. On the other hand, the gray divorce rate has doubled.
One of the main problems when an older person divorces is the increased likelihood they will spend their elderly years in poverty.
The Elder Law Prof Blog reported on this study in "The Rising Impact of Unpartnered Older Adults and 'Gray Divorce'."
As anyone who has ever been through a divorce knows, divorce has a high financial cost. After a divorce both of the ex-spouses normally take awhile to recover from those costs completely.
For many people who get divorced after the age of 50 there simply is not enough time to recover before they reach the age of retirement.
In some cases this eventually leads to poverty.
The more elderly people living in poverty the more pressure there is on the elder law system and the programs designed to assist the elderly. That will impact society in general.
Rising elderly poverty rates also create problems for younger generations because they will need to shoulder more of the financial burden of helping elderly family members without an eventual inheritance to recoup that outlay.
Reference: Elder Law Prof Blog (Jan. 15, 2016) "The Rising Impact of Unpartnered Older Adults and 'Gray Divorce'."