Does becoming empty nesters increase divorce odds?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

Parents are considered empty nesters when they no longer have children living at home, either because they’ve gone off to college or moved out to live on their own or with others. It is a significant change in those parents’ lives.

Naturally, parents look at this in many different ways. Some dread it, because they want to spend more time with their children, while others are excited to have fewer responsibilities and more time to themselves. Still others may find themselves evaluating their relationship with their spouse in a new way. Does this cause an increase in divorce rates?

The two are connected

It does appear that being an empty nester is connected to higher odds of divorce. It doesn’t mean it happens to everyone, but it is just one of those life events that sometimes can spur a divorce. This is often the case when a couple may have been neglecting their personal relationship over the last two decades because they were heavily involved with raising their children.

As strange as it sounds, people can sometimes lose focus on being a spouse and only work on being a parent. They may then realize that they no longer want to be married once the children aren’t there as a distraction.

In fact, it appears that the divorce rate for this group may actually be going up. According to one study, it may be as high as 25%.

You can’t always predict divorce, but you may see some of the signs that it could be coming in the future. If you are considering divorce, it’s wise to seek legal guidance so that you can be prepared.

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