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Baby Boomer Divorces Are On the Rise

Baby Boomer Divorces Are On the Rise

Baby boomers are increasingly rethinking “till death do us part” and calling their marriages quits in record numbers. While overall divorce rates are declining, one of every four divorces today involves people age 50 or older, up from one in every 10 divorces just 20 years ago.

These “gray divorces” (as coined by The Wall Street Journal) are commonly caused by a lack of communication between spouses. Children, which for years took priority in their lives, are now gone and many couples are left wondering what to do. People and priorities change over the years, but when spouses do not change together, they grow apart. For lack of a better explanation, many older couples are just plain bored with their marriage.

Another cause of divorce is an increasing focus on self-fulfillment among baby boomers. Longer life spans leave many people contemplating how they will spend the 25 to 35 years after the children have left the nest. Many wonder if they want to spend it with their spouse. They may feel that if they do not break away in their 50s they will be stuck until they are parted by death. Couples with a high income find that separation is economically feasible, as there are sufficient assets for both parties to survive alone.

Interestingly, women initiate 66 percent of “gray divorces.” While no one knows the exact reason for the disproportion, several issues could be at work. Women in their 50s and 60s have usually invested decades supporting their husbands and children, often left wondering where their hopes and dreams went along the way. Women are also more likely than men to cherish companionship and emotional fulfillment in a marriage, which may have long passed with a despondent husband.

Whatever the case may be, more women work today than did 20 years ago, empowering them to support themselves financially. Some believe this to be a significant contributor to the rise in baby boomer divorces as decades ago, women stuck with lackluster marriages in part for financial security.

If you are contemplating a divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your situation, your options and the best course of action for you to take.

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