"Gray divorce" is a name often applied to the phenomenon of people 50 and older getting a divorce, and it has doubled since 1990. Older divorced adults in Washington may be more prone to health problems as a result of the chronic stress associated with divorce. Depression and anxiety can lead to insomnia, a weakened immune system, overeating and alcohol abuse. It can also worsen medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Social isolation is another danger of divorce among older adults. This affects more men than women since women are usually the ones responsible for maintaining social relationships in the marriage. People who are struggling with loneliness after divorce should make sure to get out of the house daily. They might want to get a pet, and they should look into joining clubs or organizations.
Financial concerns are more of a problem for older women after divorce than men. Since they are more likely to earn less and stay home with children, they may lack the financial resources of their spouse.
In some cases, divorce after a long marriage can leave people happier, and some remain friends with the ex-spouse. For people who were in an abusive or toxic relationship, leaving the marriage may have health benefits.
A couple may share a number of assets after a long marriage, but they may want to try to avoid the expense of litigation and negotiate a divorce agreement instead. Even if there is conflict, an alternative dispute resolution process may help them reach a resolution. These processes aim for an agreement that both people are happy with, in contrast to the adversarial process of litigation in which one person may be the winner and the other may lose. If negotiations break down, litigation may still be an option.