A 90-year-old couple walked into their attorney’s office and announced that they wanted to file for a divorce after 70 years of marriage. “But you lasted this long,” said their surprised attorney. Why divorce NOW?” The couple flatly responded, “We were waiting for the kids to die.”
I thought of that old [no pun intended] joke when I read (http://www.etonline.com/celebrities/news/38489/) that Roy E. Disney, Walt Disney’s incredibly wealthy nephew, and Patricia, his wife of 52 years, were splitting. Although their divorce petition only cited the catch-all “irreconcible differences” as the reason for the divorce, a spokesperson said that “This has been in the works for a long time. They’ve just decided to move forward with their lives.”
30 years ago, such a thing would be big news. But now, late-life divorces are becoming more and more common with older women filing about two out of three of those divorce petitions. Why do couples, who were able to survive the challenges of marriage for many years, “suddenly” decide to untie a very OLD knot? Thanks to increased life spans, many expect their senior years to be both active and interesting. Where a spouse with a difficult temperament, or different goals and values is seen as an impediment to one’s senior goals, divorce is frequently considered. Common divorce deterrents, such as lack of financial security and the existence of young children are frequently no longer a concern in one’s later years.
What will Roy E. Disney do to celebrate after he receives the court order dissolving his 52-year marriage? (I’m guessing…he’s going to Disneyland?)
WENDY JAFFE, Esq. is the author of “The Divorce Lawyers’ Guide to Staying Married.” You can get more of Jaffe’s advice and hear a podcast interview at AOL.com, and you may also visit her website at divorcelawyersguide.com.