As many couples reach retirement age, their lives begin to unravel. All the reasons they stayed together through the years no longer seem relevant. They have grown in different directions, become more worldly, more knowledgeable, and self-aware. They are no longer the people they were when they were younger. Now they know themselves better, and want to explore a new world and have new experiences.
When one partner wants to try new things and the other partner wants to keep the status quo, red flags pop up, and a struggle ensues. That’s why the divorce rate, after the age of 50, has more than doubled in the last two decades.
Although some couples successfully navigate these changes, many don’t. There has been no pre-thought or plan about the future to help them decide on their next steps together or without each other.
Cindy Elwell with the Divorce With Dignity Network, www.dwdignity.com, which helps couples divorce without litigation, shared the following reasons why divorce occurs after retirement.
1. The Children
Many couples initially stay together for the sake of the children. When the children leave to go to college, careers, and their own marriages, the couples are left with each other and no purpose in common. At this time, they begin to realize that they or the person they married have changed, and don’t fit into the future they want.
Another major reason for divorce is that couples have different ways of spending money. Often one party is afraid to retire in fear of not having enough money in the future, while the other spouse has a more liberal spending habit.
3. No longer have shared interests
The couple’s main focus was their children. Now they are finding less and less in common. Also, they never discussed what retirement would look like for them as a couple or as individuals, and they now want to live differently.
4. They feel its time to enjoy life and want more adventure
When some people retire, they want to maintain the status quo, while their spouses wants to do things she or he always dreamed of doing. Now, their divergent desires become a battleground of wills.
Some people need to divorce for medical reasons so they can protect their assets, such as when the diseases of Dementia or Alzheimer’s are assessed.
Cindy Elwell is the founder of the Divorce With Dignity Network, a licensing company that helps legal professionals become successful in having their own businesses and provide their clients with a safe place to obtain an amicable divorce that is easy, safe and affordable. She also provides these services in the Divorce with Dignity-Marin office in San Rafael, CA.