Grey Divorce: Everything You Need To Know

Concept of misunderstanding and communicative problem between two senior people, they are standing back to back, isolated on grey background

Have you heard the term “Grey Divorce” buzzing around lately? 

There’s a reason for that.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, including those who have been married for a long period of time. 

Bill and Melinda Gates have decided to part ways after 27 years of marriage. While we don’t know all the reasons behind the Gates’ decision they do fall into the category of “grey divorce”.

As a result, more and more couples who have celebrated 40+ years of marriage are calling it quits.

What is Grey Divorce?

Grey divorce is a term used to explain the increase in the split or separation of older adult couples who have been married for a long time. 

Although a wider range of adults are divorcing during the pandemic, the term, “grey divorce” has been used for almost twenty years.

Here are a few common reasons why grey divorce occurs:

Common Grey Divorce Reason #1: Feelings of Growing Apart

When you have been together for many years, there may not be any black and white reasons why your marriage led to divorce. 

Instead, spouses can simply grow apart over time. 

Things like lack of attention, no longer wanting to spend free time with your partner, or even the thought that spending life with them is no longer as strong as it once was can lead to separation. 

Common Grey Divorce Reason #2: Looking Old & Feeling Older

We all have bad days, but what happens when those bad days turn someone chronically pessimistic?

As Susan L. Brown, PhD, distinguished professor and chair of sociology at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, and author of the book Families in America, has stated that “That staying in a low-quality marriage can be very detrimental for individual health and well-being.”

For some, when they see their partner aging and repeatedly complaining or being negative, it can be an unwelcome reminder that they’re getting older, too.

In order to try and change their outlook, divorce and fully separating yourself from that person might be seen as a solution to a more positive life.

Common Grey Divorce Reason #3: Not Enough Savings 

Things like severe opposing attitudes toward money and mismatched financial priorities, especially once retired, can cause a very large issue in a couple’s life. 

Whether it is how to spend money or overspending couples with diverging interests may see divorce as the better option.

Common Grey Divorce Reason #4: No Longer Need to Fulfill Past Promises

In many cultures and religions, people are married because their parents pushed them in that direction. 

However, once a person’s parents have passed, they may no longer feel the need to meet the expectations or pressures set upon them in their youth.  

Likewise, those marriages where the children have grown and left the nest may no longer feel the need to keep things together any longer.

For those who are unhappy in their marriage, it may seem easier to break things off and move in separate directions. 


If you are considering divorce after a long-term marriage, we welcome you to consider legal representation and advice before making any big decisions.

Feel free to call our office today to book a free 30-minute consultation.

This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.