What Is A Gray Divorce in Pennsylvania?
Divorces among those married 20 years or more are increasing in recent years and regardless of the hair color, natural or enhanced, of the parties, the term “gray divorce” is being applied to such cases. However, whether married and getting divorced after 4 or 40 years, the same laws and procedures apply.
Gray divorce used to be a term for divorcing couples who had been married 40 or more years… when their former natural hair color had begun to succumb to the gray of advanced years. These days, however, it’s being applied to marriages not nearly as long, sometimes as few as 20 years. Divorces among couples married 20 or more years ago have been occurring much more frequently than among those married fewer years. There have been articles and even studies published for the reason for this phenomenon, but they are all mostly guesswork as gathering facts for it is difficult at best. There is no national or even statewide maintained statistics for divorce. It’s all county-by-county, at least certainly here in Pennsylvania, and even here, we do not count them much less take note of the length of the marriages or the parties. Moreover, who really wants to be part of such a study? It is just human nature for us not to want to take much of the blame for a failed marriage and it can be so easy, whether accurate or not, to blame the other party.
Also, the type of divorce these couples get are exactly the same as for anyone else. There are no gray divorce laws. But I have encountered one thing among clients of longer marriages and that is getting divorced for a variety of economic reasons and not because their marriages are irretrievably broken as required by our no-fault divorce law. Each time a client admitted to me that the real reason for the divorce was economic – that they were still living together sometimes tipped me off – I was obligated as an officer of the court to refuse to accept the case. In many instances, it is likely that that client hired another lawyer and kept the real reason for the divorce a secret. Unfortunate, but it is easy to understand the need, unlawful though it may be.