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Does life expectancy impact divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Divorce |

Over the decades, life expectancy has been slowly increasing. Though there are times when it declines, the general trend is that people are simply living longer and longer, especially in developed countries.

Some have said that this can impact the way that people look at all of the major decisions in their lives. For instance, people are also getting married and having children later than they used to. It is much more common for people to wait until their 30s to get married, and something like getting married at 18, though it still happens, is seen as a massive outlier.

What you may be wondering is if your life expectancy is also going to affect whether or not you get divorced. As you may suspect, it certainly can.

More time to drift apart

One way that this shows up is in the rise in gray divorce rates. Simply put, those who are 50 years old and older are getting divorced at increasingly higher rates, despite the fact that those in younger age brackets are getting divorced at lower rates.

One potential reason that is sometimes given for this rise is that life expectancy has been increasing. Couples simply have to stay married for longer than they would have in the past because they’re going to live much longer. This can give them a greater amount of time for them to drift apart, or it may make them feel like they have more time ahead of them, even at a relatively older age. This can cause them to seek a divorce if they find that their life is not that fulfilling or if they’re just looking for something else.

It’s certainly true that life expectancy itself isn’t the only reason for these rising divorce rates. But it is clear that there’s some correlation there, because this increase in rates is affecting the elderly population. If life expectancy was significantly lower, such as 50 or 60, you wouldn’t have marriages that lasted as long and you would subsequently have fewer divorces.

Are you getting a divorce?

Even though every divorce case is unique, it can be enlightening to look at how these things can happen and what sort of factors drive divorce. If you and your spouse are heading in this direction, be sure that you know about all the legal options at your disposal.