“Grey divorce” is on the rise in Australia with one in three couples choosing to call it quits after 50, according to a new report.
Australian Seniors surveyed 1250 Australians aged 50 and above to uncover trends in their relationships.
While the vast majority (85 per cent) of over-50s who were in a relationship said they were satisfied with their partner, the report also found 41 per cent of older Australians had gone through a divorce or separation.
What’s more, the research found almost one-third (32 per cent) of divorces now occur after the age of 50.
The primary cause (48 per cent) of these later-in-life divorces was “empty nest syndrome”, or the sadness and upheaval that many parents feel when their adult children leave home.
The other two leading factors were increased financial pressures (35 per cent) and retirement adjustments (34 per cent).
Australian Seniors also found many Aussies were discovering greater happiness and fulfilment while embarking on their second act solo.
More than half (55 per cent) of single people over 50 reported being content despite not having a committed partner, while almost one-third (29 per cent) said their relationship status was a positive influence on their happiness.
Most (57 per cent) single over-50s said they were happy to stay single at this stage in their lives. They reported many benefits to their singledom, including more personal space, independence, peace and quiet, financial control, and less stress.
Those who were in a relationship had a few tricks for fellow seniors regarding seeking or maintaining happiness with a partner later in life.
They recommended open and honest communication about your changing needs, desires and sources of stress, supporting each other’s personal growth and fulfilment and maintaining a sense of independence.
Broadly speaking, divorce is trending downwards in Australia.
Divorces skyrocketed in 1976 when no fault divorce was introduced, allowing many long-term separations to be formalised, divorces that had been filed in previous years to be brought forward and enduringly unhappy marriages to come to an end.
Since the 1990s, Australia’s crude divorce rate — divorces per 1,000 Australian residents — has trended downward, reaching a low of 1.9 in 2016, 2019 and 2020. Presently, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about one-third of Australian marriages end in divorce.