Emotions often run high during a gray divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2023 | Divorce

The longer people have been married, the harder it can be to peacefully navigate divorce proceedings. After decades of sharing a life together, a couple may have almost completely commingled their assets. Both spouses may worry about their financial stability during their retirement years if one spouse decides to file later in life.

People refer to divorces after the age of 50 as gray divorces, and they are increasingly common in the United States. When older couples who may have been married for decades divorce, this can trigger a major shift in their family and financial circumstances. As a result, it is common for spouses and the people that they are close with to have intense emotional reactions to this kind of divorce.

Spouses may get angry or grieve

Even when someone knows they will be much happier when they live on their own in the future, they may still find themselves having a difficult time accepting the idea of divorce. Particularly when people continue living together in the initial stages of the divorce process, they may find that they have bitter arguments and intense emotional reactions that may leave them feeling angry or depressed for days on end. It is very common for those preparing for the end of a long-term marriage to require mental health support or at least social and religious support to cope with the consequences of their changing family situations.

Children are likely to get upset and pick sides

It is common for those preparing for divorce later in life to assume that their children will handle the matter better because they are older. However, research into the psychological impact of divorce on children shows that such beliefs are not grounded in reality. The adult children of people divorcing may experience a sudden change in self-esteem and personality. They may lose their sense of family and community or start questioning their personal values.

It’s also very common for children to take sides with one parent or the other and to stop communicating with one parent because of their feelings about the divorce. Unlike when the children are minors, a judge will not have the authority to compel them to maintain a relationship with the other parent, which means that the child might voluntarily disengage while they process their emotions, which may take many months.

Those preparing for a gray divorce will likely handle the process better when they understand what to expect. Preparing for the emotional fallout of a divorce later in life can help people navigate the family and personal challenges that arise throughout the process with more resilience and focus.

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