Why now? Late-life divorce timing process: Dyadic and individual perspectives

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Late-life divorce is increasing in the Western world, including among family-oriented societies like Israel in which the most common family status for older adults (age 60 years and older) is being in a heterosexual long-term marriage with adult children. Within a life-course framework, we use both dyadic and individual interview analysis to explore the process that led to the timing of late-life divorce. Understanding this process from dyadic and individual perspectives could strengthen knowledge regarding this expanding phenomenon in family-oriented societies and could contribute to developing targeted interventions and policies for such couples. Semi-structured interviews were conducted separately with 44 heterosexual ex-spouses comprised of 10 dyads (n = 20) and 24 individuals (n = 13 women; n = 11 men). The divorces were mostly after age 60 and followed a long-term marriage with children. Two themes emerged from the analysis: the long-term phase of divorce delay despite longstanding motivations, and the moment of final decision with its various background accelerators. The discussion addresses intersections between personal time, family time, and social/cultural time related to divorce, and between intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects. Implications for family gerontology are presented.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • divorce accelerator
  • Divorce delay
  • divorce motivation
  • divorce timing
  • late-life divorce
  • qualitative method
  • turning point

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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