The National Center for Family and Marriage Research reports that the divorce rate for those 50 and older has more than doubled since 1990. This has become so common that it now has the nickname of "Gray Divorce."
There are a variety of factors that can lead to divorce later in life. Some spouses focus so much on raising the children, that they grow apart as a couple. Once the children leave home, the spouses realize that they no longer have anything in common. Other couples are fine until retirement when they are suddenly spending a lot more time with each other. Of course, there are also the reasons that any marriage can break down including addiction, infidelity, and disagreements over finances.
Divorcing later in life can be an entirely different experience than divorcing at a younger age. The spouses usually have significantly more assets to divide. One spouse is often financially dependent on the other spouse making spousal support or alimony a very important issue. Either spouse may have health issues that make losing health insurance coverage devastating. The age of the spouses often make it unlikely that they will have enough time to start or build a career.
Although the formal process for getting a divorce does not differ in a gray divorce, the issues important to each spouse may be quite different than they otherwise would be if they were getting divorced at a younger age.