Earlier this week, NPR featured an interesting story on its afternoon news program, All Things Considered, featuring older Americans divorcing in record numbers. As the story noted, couples over 50 are twice as likely to divorce now when compared to 20 years ago.
What’s striking about the story is how emotionally challenging it can be for these couples — after all, couples over 50 have likely been married to the same person for at least half a lifetime, and making the transition to life without that partner can be difficult even if both parties agree it’s the right thing to do.
In collaborative divorce, we often think of how divorce impacts children emotionally, and the mental health professionals involved with collaborative divorce are well-versed in helping children through the process. But collaborative divorce acknowledges that all divorces can be emotionally difficult regardless of how many people are in the household. Older couples might be experiencing “empty nest” syndrome (a transition unto itself), anxiety over retirement finances, or any number of other situations in which emotions can interfere with divorce and post-divorce happiness.
The story includes a look at one resource for people who have divorced and are looking to move on with their lives, and it’s encouraging that such resources exist. But for those who want to start the healing process before the divorce is final, it’s worth it to look at a collaborative divorce with a mental health professional as part of your team.