Paul Hogan is best remembered for his roles as a lovable wildlife wrangler in the Crocodile Dundee film franchise of the 1980s. At 74 years old, Hogan’s days of ‘gator grappling are largely over. However, he may now be embarking on a battle of a different sort as his spouse of almost 25 years and silver screen co-star has filed for divorce. The Hogans join a growing number of couples opting for divorce in their golden years, including former U.S. vice president Al Gore and his ex-wife Tipper.
Age not a deterrent to divorce
With divorce on the rise for every age demographic in the United States, it shouldn’t be surprising that divorce among couples 50 and older is also exploding. This reality flies in the face of societal stereotypes of older couples enjoying the fruits of their labor as they enter their retirement years together. The fact of the matter is that the divorce rate among those 50 years of age and up has actually doubled in the past 20 years. Unfortunately, approximately one in four divorces involves people 50 or over.
Different age, different stage
While experts point to a number of reasons for these statistics, from increased lifespans to women’s financial independence, older couples confronting divorce face different issues than younger families going through this experience. Most important, gray divorce, as this type of marital dissolution is termed, frequently involves more valuable assets and larger marital estates, leading to a variety of legal issues connected to higher net worth.
Not least of all, older divorcees may face a host of emotional issues produced by dissolving marriages of multiple decades. Being single again can also be daunting, especially in light of the major changes in society that have occurred since many of these individuals were last in the dating world. In addition, addressing end-of-life planning on one’s own is a prospect many older Americans simply never anticipated.