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Call It Silver Separation or Grey Divorce – Either Way It’s On The Rise

Call It Silver Separation or Grey Divorce – Either Way It’s On The Rise

I’ve noticed a recent trend over the last few years – more Baby Boomers are getting divorced. Nicknamed the Silver Separation or the Grey Divorce – whatever you call it it’s on the rise.  

I discovered a report published by StatsCan in Feburary, 2014 that reported that individuals aged 55 to 64 who reported being divorced rose from 6% in 1981 to 20% in 2011 – this is a significant increase in just thirty years. 

There seems to be many different reasons being stated as to why there is this increase. Here are just a few that I found; 

We Are Living Longer 

You’re probably very well aware that we’re expected to live longer lives. And not just five or ten years – we’re talking about twenty years. As Canadians, our life expectancy is now 81.7 years – back in 1929 it was only 60 years. 

With all this additional time to live, it seems couples are now looking at the rest of their lives and questioning how they would like to spend this remaining time and whether they are with the person they really want to spend it with. 

Women Are More Independent

The days of women being dependent on a man for financial support have declined over the years. By 1994, 54% of women with children under the age of 5 were working. This has resulted in many women now having increased freedom as to whether they want to remain in a marriage or not for other reasons beyond financial dependence.

 Not Willing To Settle

You used to hear of many cases of where people would stay in unhappy marriages either for the sake of the children or because they just felt that they had to honour their commitment to their marriage. With divorce now being a much more common practice and happiness in life so often being the objective, more people are not willing to stay in unhappy relationships and are choosing to divorce rather than stay.

But along with this increase in divorce later in life, there are also some unique challenges that are associated with divorcing at an older age.

Financial Impact

When someone splits from their spouse, even if you get 50% of the assets you are not necessarily able to continue living the lifestyle you had as a couple. An article in the Globe and Mail estimated that a divorced individual would need 70% of their previous income to retain the same living standards as they previously had. If you were approaching retirement or are retired when you divorce, the ability to make up this income may be difficult.

Impact of Divorce on Adult Children

One of the nasty side effects of a divorce can be the damaged relationships it can cause. Damages that not only include the other spouse but also potentially the kids could be pulled into the situation. It’s been found that even though the children involved may be adults,in a grey divorce there are still impacts to them. Loyalty conflicts, feeling of role reversal are just some examples of these potential impacts.


As much as someone may not enjoy another person’s company, they are around and do provide some company. It has been discovered that loneliness has been shown it can increase your risk of death by 14%. So after a divorce, if there isn’t a social network or a desire to create one this could pose a potential increased risk to a person.

Whatever way you look at it, divorce can be a complicated and challenging situation at any age. Hopefully people are making choices that are right for them and their relationships and will in turn have a life filled with happiness – whatever that may be.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.