The Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory is a metric designed to predict which events in life are the most stressful and the most likely to result in a health breakdown. The number two stressor on the inventory is legal uncoupling or divorce. For people in Illinois who are divorcing after age 50, it may be even harder on the health.
Since 1990, divorce rates have doubled for people at least 50 years old. According to a geriatric psychiatrist and clinical psychiatry professor, divorce can have a number of different physical and psychological consequences, especially if the person going through divorce has medical problems already. The spike in the number of older age divorces has been referred to as gray divorce.
According to a university researcher, potential factors making gray divorce more likely include the increasing life expectancy and the prevalence of financial autonomy for women. Remarriage may also be a factor as gray divorce is 2.5 times more likely for people are on their second or third marriage. The gray divorce phenomenon might be linked with symptoms of depression.
Where psychological symptoms develop, they may lead to physical symptoms as well. Depression has been linked to heart disease, for example. Chronic stress may increase the risk of high blood pressure or obesity. Among the biggest concerns that goes with gray divorce is isolation. Changing relationships can lead to isolation and people over 50 are less likely to have dynamic social groups outside their families.
For people in Illinois who are approaching or going through divorce, an attorney may help. An attorney with experience in divorce law might be able to identify assets and income of the other spouse or assist during property settlement negotiations. If there are retirement accounts to be divided, the couple might need to have a qualified domestic relations order drafted and approved by the court.