A divorce is always difficult, whether it happens early in the marriage or after years of being together. Couple that with the overall trends relating to divorces, and it’s easy to see how common they are. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that there were over 689,000 divorces nationwide in 2021.
While each divorce has its own set of circumstances, a divorce between a senior couple in Florida can be even more complex and difficult because of the sheer amount of time spent together. Known as a “gray divorce”, senior divorce is fairly common in Florida due to the high number of senior people that live here. That said, looking at the data on senior divorces can give a clearer picture of just how widespread it is, and what you can do if you’re going through a senior divorce in Florida.
How Widespread is Divorce in Florida?
Many couples in Florida reach the point of divorce, which in legal terms only requires the marriage to be considered “irretrievably broken.”
The term “irretrievably broken” signifies a situation in which the spouses have reached a stage where reconciling their differences or resolving their marital problems is no longer feasible. It acknowledges that efforts at reconciliation or mediation would prove futile, and continuing the marriage is no longer a viable option.
According to data from the Florida Department of Health (FLDOH), there were 74,681 divorces statewide in 2021. This was nearly 10,000 more than the previous year, but is in line with 2017-2019 in the state.
While this data shows the prevalence of divorce in Florida, the reality is that pretty much every divorce has its own unique set of circumstances. Thus, it can occur for a variety of reasons, like:
- Domestic violence
- Different life goals
- Lack of companionship
- Financial stress
While these issues can be present in virtually any marriage in Florida, they’re more likely to emerge in certain demographics and in certain areas of the state.
Which Counties See the Most Divorces in Florida?
Florida is well-known for its vibrant culture and diverse set of people that populate the state. What this means is that wherever you go in Florida, you’ll find different cultural values and ways of doing things. All of this plays a part in marriage and divorce, so much so that certain areas of the state see more divorces than others.
Not surprisingly, the more populated areas of the state have more people, thus have more marriages and divorces. 2021 data from the FLDOH found that Miami-Dade County had the most divorces, with 11,119. Other leaders included Broward County, Hillsborough County, Lee County, and Palm Beach County.
Divorces Among Seniors in Florida
Florida’s appeal to older individuals is driven by its climate and favorable state tax laws, particularly concerning Social Security benefits, pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s. Consequently, Florida not only boasts one of the nation’s largest senior populations but also experiences a relatively high rate of divorce.
According to a 2017 study from the National Centers for Family and Marriage Research, the divorce rate among women 50 and older in Florida was 11.4%. The national average hovered at around 10.1%.
Like any other divorce, a senior couple can reach the decision for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:
- Growing apart – Over the years, couples may find that they have developed different interests, goals, or values, leading to a sense of drifting apart.
- Empty nest syndrome – After their children have grown and moved out of the house, some couples may struggle to find common ground and decide to divorce.
- Health issues – Serious health problems or disabilities can place significant stress on a marriage, especially when one spouse becomes a caregiver.
- Financial disagreements -: Disputes over finances, spending habits, or retirement plans can lead to conflicts and divorce.
- Retirement – The transition to retirement can change the dynamics of a relationship, and some couples may find it challenging to adjust to this new phase of life together.
Does the Length of Marriage Affect the Divorce Rate in Florida?
The conventional wisdom regarding marriages is that the longer the couple has been together, the less likely they are to get a divorce. While that is somewhat true, the data available suggests that’s not always the case.
According to FLDOH, of the over 74,000 divorces in 2021, most happened in marriages that had been together between five and nine years. Interestingly, couples that had been married between 35 and 39 years saw over 1,000 divorces, while those that had been married for 40-plus years saw nearly 900.
For many senior couples, they’ve spent years of their life together, building families and putting together extensive assets. While a so-called “gray divorce” is unique in terms of the typical duration of the marriage, it’s ultimately treated the same way any other divorce is under Florida law.
Thus, it’s important to have experienced and dedicated legal help to make sure you’re able to work out any issues with your spouse.
Get Serious About Your Divorce With Robert Sparks Attorneys
Going through a divorce is almost always difficult, no matter when it happens. Still, as a senior, one of the last things you probably expect is to see your marriage breakdown. Although it’s challenging, working with our team of experienced Florida divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys can make the process much easier. We have the dedication and approach to make sure you’re able to walk away from your marriage with fairness and dignity.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation to learn more.