SEOUL, March 12 (Korea Bizwire) — The counseling rate for ‘gray divorce’ – marital splits among seniors – between men and women in their 60s and older has increased sharply over the past 20 years.
According to statistics from the Korea Legal Aid Center for Family Relations, a total of 4,783 divorce consultations were conducted at counseling centers last year.
Among them, 71.8 percent (3,435) were women and 28.2 percent (1,348) were men.
When analyzing the counselees by age, women in their 40s and men in their 60s accounted for the majority, at 27.8 percent and 43.5 percent, respectively.
In terms of the ratio of divorce counseling for those in their 60s or older over the past 20 years, women only accounted for 3.5 percent of the total in 1999, but increased 7.2 times to 5.5 percent in 2009 and 25.3 percent in 2019.
On the other hand, men increased 9.1 times in 20 years from 4.8 percent in 1999 to 12.5 percent in 2009 and 43.5 percent in 2019.
As for the major reasons behind divorce, “treated unfairly by husband (violence)” accounted for 1,095 cases.
Also figuring prominently were “husband’s extramarital affairs,” accounting for 457 cases and “long-term separation,” accounting for 423 cases.
The center pointed out that “although 22 years have passed since the enactment of a special law on domestic violence in 1998, women and children are still suffering as indicated in the continuing number of cases reported on husbands being violent with their wives.”
Meanwhile, men chose “long-term separation” as their main reason for divorce, accounting for 370 cases. Some 213 cases were due to “runaway wife,” and 161 cases due to “differences in personality.”
What is noticeable is that “will and inheritance” was categorized as another common reason for divorce. There are increased number of counselees seeking advice regarding wills and inheritance.
The rate of those seeking advice for wills and inheritance in 2009 was 2.1 percent, but the figure increased six-fold over a decade to 6.3 percent in 2014 and 12.6 percent in 2019.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)