Nearly everyone in Pensacola has probably heard the sobering statistic that approximately one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. But that broad figure conceals shifting trends and nuanced differences among age groups. One of the more interesting differences is the divorce rate among the baby boomer generation: Twenty-five percent of those over 50 filed for divorce in 2009, a jump from 10 percent in 1990.
But divorcing in one’s 50s or 60s presents certain challenges. Boomers may have accumulated significant assets during their marriages and the resulting property division can be a complex process. Retirement accounts, stocks and real estate are just a few of the assets that may have to be catalogued and valued. In addition, divorcing boomers will have to consider what their monetary needs will be as they strike out on their own and approach retirement. A divorce settlement should at least look forward to the couple’s retirement needs, and in some cases alimony may be appropriate.
The causes behind the rising divorce rate among boomers are manifold: Large-scale historical changes rarely can be traced to a single cause. Researchers from Bowling Green State University who published a study on divorce among baby boomers suggested a number of explanations for the change. These included increases to the length of retirement–because people now live longer–and baby boomers’ general expectations about what they want out of life.
Some couples are finding that after they have spent decades working hard and raising children, they have a difficult time adjusting to a new paradigm where they spend a significant amount of time together without the goals that lent their earlier years structure. In addition, boomers grew up in the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, when America reworked a number of its cultural and societal ideals. Many boomers see a good marriage as one in which they achieve personal happiness, and they are willing to divorce if the relationship does not meet that standard.
Source: CNN.com, “Baby boomer divorce rate doubles,” Greg Clary and Athena Jones, June 24, 2012.