Why are my parents getting divorced at 83 years old and 57 years of marriage?

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My parents are 83 years old and are getting divorced after 57 years of marriage. Has anyone heard of such a thing?

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Both of these are good posts. It's horrible that our system is such that some people divorce for financial reasons or don't marry because of losing Social Security benefits, but happens often.

The idea of divorcing because of cognitive issues is not unheard of, either. Also, since divorce doesn't have the stigma it once had, people who have been unhappy all of their married lives sometimes decide enough is enough and do it after long marriages. This one, though - 57 years - has to be a record, if it's just because they are unhappy.

Carol
Jack,
This may be what is sometimes called "a divorce for convenience" With the Tax Laws and Social Security benefits being messed with by so many politicians, it is possible some wag advised your parents that they would fare better being single than being married. You need to ask them. Whatever the basis of the split you need to be sure both are protected against unforeseen events such as debilitating disease (think Long Term Care) or the onset of Dementia (think Assisted Living). If they have already retained a lawyer, make sure this person has some background in elder law practice in the state where they reside. Otherwise, you may find the only result of the "divorce" is two homeless people with mounting health problems and no way to recover their lost estate. Also, if you have siblings--get them involved in a family meeting with you parents. Topic: After the divorce--then what happens. Do either of you plan to remarry? How do you want us to relate to you and your "new" family? You get the idea. Respect their decision, but force them to think it through just as they probably did with you at those critical decision times in your life.
If they live together and one or the other has some cognitive issues it may be too much for the other one. Being the caregiver for someone who is impaired can be too hard. Maybe moving to a community and having some activities outside of being the caregiver will help with their decision. After that long I would be surprised if it is because they are unhappy. I agree with ezcare something is causing this thought process.
Take both of them to their doctor. Ask the doctor to give both a check up and then refer both to a neurologist for a cognitive check up. That should give you some answers.
I would be interested in learning WHY the divorce NOW? Others have suggested some good possibilities. Or perhaps they don't agree on how they want to spend whatever REMAINS of their lives so they have decided to go their separate ways. Or perhaps one of your parents wants to "spend their children's inheritance" whereas the other doesn't. There could be lots of reasons as to WHY NOW but if they are of sound mind and really want to split up, ezcare gave you lots of good ideas as to what your parents have to consider if they decide to go through with the divorce. Even though they have been married for so long and are 83 now this doesn't mean that they can't surprise you. There is still the possibility that they are young enough to want to change things. I hope they BOTH come out of the divorce okay in all ways. It would appear you have your work cut out for you, Jack3232. Good luck with it all. But to answer your basic question - has anyone heard of such a thing, the answer is yes. But this shouldn't really matter, should it?
The question regarding divorce is WHY.
When you find out the real reason this couple is seeking a divorce after 57 years of marriage, then I would proceed accordingly. Possible reasons: Financial. Who wants what. Who is preventing whom from seeking what. How much is involved here. In what form (s) are the assets held? By whom?
Where? Check wills... check trustees and trusts. Check beneficiaries. If after all research is complete, and no factor is found to be misleading or detrimental to either party, then I would find out if living arrangements are involved. Has one of the two parties "met" someone such as a patient (Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's husband met another inmate at an Althzeimer's Nursing Home and fell in love.) No divorce has yet been announced there. Will a separation do? A legal separation is less expensive and may accomplish the same end. Is one of the two parties terminal? There are so many questions, and I would seek answers before I agreed to any legal arrangement that you may regret later.
Yes. It has nothing to do with age. Couples live together for many years wanting to divorce but don't have the courage to make the decision. One day, they just reach their limits and finally do what they've been longing for years. I know because I have been married for 35 years and wanting to end this marriage since the beginning. Please respect your parents decision.
As MindingOur Elders said, this discussion about divorce after many years of marriage is very interesting. Susana, I am glad my "hug" meant something to you and I am sorry that you are in an unhappy situation yourself. If you really want out of it and it is at all possible, I would urge you to make changes sooner rather than later. It will never get any easier and it will probably get harder (which I imagine you know already as you have stayed for 37 years). I wonder how many people are in the same situation as you and then as they get older and older, they are just too tired or too sick (or whatever) to do what Jack3232's parents seem to be planning to do. An alternative for Jack3232's parents and you, Susana, might be to just live apart IF the money end of things can be worked out. I know of at least two couples who were "the best of friends" but could no longer live together so they went their separate ways but never divorced (it may have been against their religious beliefs but I don't know this). If mates find it hard to live with each other when both are young and healthy, I have found that it usually gets much tougher as they grow older and one or both become ill. Jack3232, any new developments in your parents situation?
Maybe the solution is to honor their wish to divorce and not invest emotions in something that is between a husband and wife, regardless of how old they are. A friend of mine's grandfather filed for divorce when he learned he had '6 months' from his doctor - his reason was that he could face death, but could not stand hypocrisy. Oddly enough he did not die in 6 months, he lived several more years and my friend laughs when she ends the story with the kicker - my grandparents became friends after they got a divorce. Go figure.

Sometimes I think as caregivers we are so used to taking on the weight of the world, that we do even if it really isn't good for us. Regardless of the reason, keeping your own relationships with both grandparents should be the priority.
that is so sad . its such a waste to throw it all away . we say our vows for better or for worst health and sickness , richer or poorer . then bam get a divorce is outrages ..
they need to explain why they want a divorce and maybe it could be fix ???

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