Shannen Doherty’s Gray Divorce: “No Other Option”

Shannen Doherty, known for her roles in television shows like Charmed and Beverly Hills, 90210, has filed for divorce from Kurt Iswarienko, her husband of 11 years. 

While Doherty and Iswarienko have not made any direct statements regarding the divorce, her representative stated, “Divorce is the last thing Shannen wanted. Unfortunately, she felt she was left with no other option.” 

In addition, the day her split became public knowledge, Doherty wrote on Instagram, “The only people who deserve to be in your life are the ones who treat you with love, kindness and total respect.”

This paints a picture of an unhappy marriage that has not withstood life’s challenges. At 52, Doherty has had a rough several years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, which then went into remission in 2017. However, in 2020, she announced the cancer had returned as Stage 4. In addition, the couple’s home burned down, and Doherty had to fight a difficult legal battle in 2021 to receive compensation for the loss. It appears that her divorce may be due to ongoing conflicts with Iswarienko due to these many struggles.

While Doherty’s story is higher profile than most, it is not unique. Couples over 50 are increasingly seeking so-called “gray divorces.” Here’s why these splits are becoming more common and how to manage your divorce later in life.

Why Older Couples Are Divorcing More Often

Divorces between couples over 50 have doubled in the past three decades, according to the Pew Research Center. But why is that the case? It turns out several societal factors have made older couples less hesitant to end marriages that aren’t working, such as:

  • Less stigma: As no-fault divorces have become the law in every state, the stigma against divorce has faded. Couples are more willing to end unhappy marriages because they do not fear backlash from their family and friends.
  • Longer lifespans: Improvements in medical care have led adults to remain active and energetic into their seventies, eighties, and beyond. Older adults frequently decide to get divorced rather than spend another thirty years unhappy. 
  • More dual-income marriages: As women have continued the fight for equality in the workplace, fewer wives feel financially trapped in their marriages. 

In combination, these factors are the perfect recipe for older adults choosing to start fresh. 

Tips for Managing Gray Divorces

Gray divorces can be difficult, but adults over 50 achieve them daily. These tips can help you manage your split more effectively and streamline your new beginning.

  • Prepare to compromise. You and your spouse have likely acquired many assets together. If you’re ready to compromise on how they’re split, you can simplify the divorce process significantly.
  • Build a new budget. You will likely need to change your financial plans for the future after your divorce. Budget for your new finances now so you know how to prepare for retirement.
  • Work with an expert attorney. An experienced lawyer makes all the difference in how smoothly your divorce will go.

Shannen Doherty is just one of thousands of Californians who will go through a gray divorce this year. If you’re preparing to end your marriage, contact the skilled attorneys at Viola Law, P.C., to discuss your next steps today. 

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