Why do empty-nesters suddenly begin considering divorce?

On Behalf of | May 3, 2021 | Divorce

Divorce rates make it clear that many people in their 50s and beyond start to consider divorce. This can come as a shock to friends and family members who have thought of them as a happy couple for decades.

In many cases, this happens after the parents become “empty nesters” and their children leave the home. What is it about that time in life that makes divorce seem like a more viable option to them than it may have before?

Did they stay together for the kids?

One potential issue is if the parents only stayed together for the children, something many of them express. Becoming empty nesters does not make them want to get a divorce; it’s something they’ve wanted for years. They just did not feel like they could do it before, so they move forward with it when the responsibility of raising their children has ended.

Are they surprised by what it’s like to be a couple?

Sometimes, couples almost forget what it’s like to be together in an individual sense. They may have gotten married 20 years ago, but they haven’t strictly been a couple since the first child was born. They’ve been a family. They may find that the dynamic shift back to being a couple shows them that they were happy to be part of a family but they’re not actually happy with their marriage.

How do they want to spend the rest of their lives?

When life expectancy was much lower, this issue may not have come up as much. With modern medicine and technology, though, someone may still have 30 years ahead of them after becoming an empty-nester. This can lead them to ask how they want to spend that time, and some decide that they do not want to spend it with their spouse. They have to make a decision about exactly what path they want to take and what experiences they’re interested in.

Getting a divorce can be complicated

There are many potential complications with a divorce at this stage in life. Those who are considering it need to know what legal options they have.