’Til Divorce Do Us Part: Marriage Dissolution in Later Life

Sarah L. Canham, Atiya Mahmood, Sarah Stott, Judith Sixsmith, Norm O’Rourke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Late-life divorce—commonly referred to as gray divorce—is a rising trend that parallels the growth of the older adult population. We sought to gain an in-depth understanding of the experience of marriage dissolution, the divorce process, and life following divorce in a sample of older adults who divorced after more than 20 years of marriage. Qualitative data were collected from 10 divorcees (7 women and 3 men; M age = 63.5) and analyzed to understand the gray divorce experience; that is, factors that determined or delayed the decision to divorce and divorcees’ coping during and after divorce. Participants’ stories demonstrate that marriages endure despite problems because relationships are complex, and good experiences mix with bad ones. Outcomes of late-life divorce have significant health and financial implications for both individuals and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-612
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Issue number8
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • aging and relationships
  • late-life divorce
  • life course perspective
  • qualitative methods

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Law


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