Divorce After 50: A Mature Mediation Approach to Gray Divorces

People over 50 have a wealth of experience that informs their entire life. When older couples determine that their marriage is over, they can rely on their wisdom to learn from that experience and make the best decision with as little conflict as possible. Divorce after 50 may be as difficult and sad as it is at any age, but it can also be a new start for both partners if they use a mature approach. A compassionate divorce mediator focused on a fair outcome helps ensure that important goals are met.

According to Forbes magazine, people over 50 make up almost 25 percent of all divorces and report that this phenomenon is becoming so common that it has a new name; they call it the “Silver or Gray Divorce.” Being mature and possibly having been together for a long time does add further considerations to a divorce, especially since most mature couples have combined finances and deeply intertwined lives.

Is it worth to divorce after 50?

Only the divorcing couple knows if divorce is the right answer (and most experts recommend therapy to be sure it is the best decision) but once that decision has been made, it is important to acknowledge there is a lot of life to be lived after 50.  Some research even indicates, if divorce is the best course of action for a given couple, then the partners will likely be happier after divorce. Another factor that distinguishes the Gray or Silver divorce is that children are often grown and no longer dependent on the divorcing parents, freeing up resources for future individual goals.  Additionally, most mature couples have assets and retirement savings and plans that are more established than their younger counterparts.  Therefore, decisions around future income, retirement, pensions and quality of life may be more salient and require consideration of different options for moving forward.

I have worked with many couples who are considering ending long marriages: 30+ years.  In some of those marriages, not only are there concerns for untangling years of finances, but often one person has not worked in a very long time and may face obstacles to or even be prevented from entering the workforce as an older job seeker.  I’ve also had mediations where one partner has never handled the finances and faces the uncertainties of managing their own money for the first time.

All these unique and valid concerns can and should be addressed in the mediation sessions in a respectful and thoughtful manner.  Through mediation a careful and considered plan can be set in place tailored to the unique situation of the older couple.

How do you thrive through a divorce after 50?

Research shows that taking care of yourself and being thoughtful in how you act during and after the divorce impacts one’s happiness. Here are a few things reported to make the transition easier:

  • Self Care. Emotional and Physical self care are important following a divorce and can help with a positive, forward looking attitude.
  • Compromise. The ability to compromise can make the transition as smooth as possible so that there aren’t issues popping up after the divorce.
  • Look Ahead. Looking forward to the future and making positive plans can lead to a happier perspective.
  • Support. Leaning on or creating a strong support system makes a big difference in thriving after divorce. Stay active and engaged with family, friends, and the larger community and consider continuing therapy individually for a time.
  • Release Anger. Having the ability to acknowledge the complexities of relationships  and release any lingering blame or anger is essential to being able to move forward into happiness.
  • Financial Advice.  Seek out a financial professional who can advise and guide you on how to manage your separate finances after divorce. In addition to investment advisors, there are financial coaches, estate planners and tax professionals who can assist in setting you up for a comfortable future.

Is mediation a good idea in divorce after 50?

Mediation is a great idea in Gray or Silver Divorces if both parties are amenable to the process and if they both can agree on the big ticket issues. When both people agree to the divorce, and when they both understand the importance of maintaining a positive, forward looking view of things, a divorce mediation is much faster, more affordable, and less contentious than a traditional divorce with lawyers and court time.

Couples in Arizona over 50 who are considering divorce, but don’t want to burn everything down and are interested in a mature and careful separation with minimal disruption can benefit from mediation.  Instead of an expensive, drawn out, dramatic and agonizing legal battle, you can use our tools and expertise to find that positive future. If you are interested in learning more or if we can help in any way, please reach out to us at 480.780.3798.

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