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Gray Divorce

The Link Between Empty Nest Syndrome and Gray Divorce

Divorce among older Americans, known as “gray divorce,” is increasingly likely, according to The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). There may be several reasons why an older couple chooses to divorce. However, a second phenomenon, “empty nest syndrome,” can help explain why gray divorce is common.

Explaining Empty Nest Syndrome

When you and your spouse have children together, your children form a significant part of your personal identity. While they reside with you in your home, your priorities are centered around what is best for your children. Your own needs, and even the needs of your relationship with your spouse, can all take a place of secondary importance.

It can be incredibly upsetting and disorienting, then, when your children finally leave your home and become independent. Without your children to focus on, you may experience several unpleasant feelings, including:

  • Realizing you and your spouse ignored and neglected your marriage
  • Feeling as if you do not know yourself, your goals, and your priorities
  • Believing you and your spouse are heading in different directions
  • Wanting to hold onto your role as a parent even though your child has left the home

Some individuals successfully negotiate a season of empty nest syndrome and learn to embrace this new period of their lives. Others have difficulty doing so and feel as though they must make major changes in their lives to move beyond their feelings of listlessness.

Characteristics of Gray Divorce Fueled by Empty Nest Syndrome

If you believe that your spouse does not align with or support your individual goals after your children have left the home, you and your partner may be headed for a gray divorce. While these divorces have many of the same characteristics as other divorces, there are certain distinguishing features:

No Child Support or Child Custody

First, even though you and your partner have children in common, you do not need to worry about the court entering child support or custody orders. Because your children are grown and no longer minors if you are struggling with empty nest syndrome, the court lacks any jurisdiction to enter these orders.

Property Division

When you have minor children at home, it becomes important for the custodial parent to keep the marital home in their possession.

Once your children leave, however, you may not care as much about who gets certain items of property. Instead, you are more likely to be concerned about retaining financial accounts and other property that can help you independently establish and support yourself post-divorce.

How a Michigan Divorce Lawyer Assists You With a Gray Divorce

Empty nest syndrome can be unsettling, and you may feel inclined to change numerous things about your life to cope with it. Your Michigan divorce lawyer from Gucciardo Family Law is your trusted guide and advocate, listening to your concerns and helping you make the best decision for you and your family.

If a divorce is the path forward for you, one of our experienced divorce lawyers will devote their efforts to helping you obtain the divorce you seek. Whatever your needs, contact Gucciardo Family Law today.

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We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.

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