Divorce is often thought of as something that young people go through. Young couples who get married before they really know each other or before they really understand what they are getting into find that they are unhappy with their marriages and get divorced.
Even though many people think of that as the typical divorce, there is also the other side of the coin. A growing number of long-married couples are deciding to end their marriages. In fact, according to U.S. Census data for 2007, fully a quarter of all divorces that year were between couples who had been married for over twenty years.
Pittsburgh divorce lawyers see many acrimonious divorces in their line of work, but one common characteristic of the divorce of long-married couples (or "gray divorce" as some have called it), is that the breakups tend to have less conflict. Some divorce attorneys have characterized them as "fade away divorces."
Why the label "fade away?" Because frequently these couples find that their marital relationship has faded away long before they even realize it. The urgency of career and parenting obligations fill their minds and obscure the personal relationship that once meant so much to them. By the time the last child is out of the nest, or about to be, the parents realize they no longer have much in common and no longer have much of a marriage. No fight or other particular event brings on the breakup, just a recognition of what may be a longstanding situation.
In many cases, the two soon-to-be-ex-spouses want to preserve what good relations they have, if for no other reason than for both to be able to attend family get-togethers and events for their children in peace.
Source: KC Star "Gray divorces: Long-married boomers cut the knot" 7/18/2011