With Americans living longer and longer, many are approaching the later decades of life with a perspective that is markedly different from past generations. Advances in medical technology and personal care have made it much more likely that a person will reach their 80s or 90s. As such, long-term commitments such as a marriage are beginning to be seen in a different light.

The rate of divorce amongst older couples in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 80s has been steadily rising in the past decade. Known colloquially as “gray divorce,” the trend is something of a sign that couples across the nation, many of them right here in Arkansas, are less willing to stick it out through an unsatisfying or failed marriage.

One well-known American explorer recently finalized a divorce from his third wife at the age of 82. Buzz Aldrin, who along with fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong was one of the first people to walk on the moon, separated from wife Lois Driggs Cannon late last month.

Aldrin and Driggs Cannon had been together for 23 years prior to the divorce, which Aldrin himself had instigated. The former astronaut cited irreconcilable differences in preliminary June 2011 filings.

Reports indicate that the final settlement will split one of Aldrin’s bank accounts, valued at $475,000, between the two. Driggs Cannon will also receive monthly spousal support payments of $9,500 from Aldrin.

Although the split may have proved costly for Aldrin, new price is too high to pay for the freedom that single life can bring after a marriage that has become unhealthy or unwanted. Divorce at any age can bring on a new lease on life, and should never be delayed if one or both partners believe it to be necessary. Working closely with a family law attorney can both expedite the process and improve the likelihood of a favorable settlement.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Buzz Aldrin And Ex-Wife Lois Driggs Cannon Settle Their Divorce,” Jan. 7, 2013