Why Baby Boomers are leading the gray divorce revolution

Older couples no longer willing to put up with unsatisfying marriages

Family law has been undergoing a bit of a quiet revolution in the past couple decades and it is being led by Americans over 50 years of age. The so-called gray divorce phenomenon has seen older Americans divorcing more frequently and in larger numbers than their younger counterparts. According to Bloomberg, one in four divorces nowadays involves a spouse who is over 50. Experts say that rising life expectancies and changing societal attitudes are driving the change.

Divorce falls, but not for older Americans

People over fifty have been bucking a trend that sociologists have noted over the past twenty years. Although the divorce rate has declined or stabilized for most age groups, for people over fifty it has actually been on the rise.

Compared to twenty years ago, marriages that have at least one spouse over 50 are twice as likely to end in divorce today. Furthermore, a full quarter of all divorces are now classified as gray divorces, that is, with at least one spouse being 50 or over.

Reasons and warnings

The reason for the rise in gray divorce has been attributed to people living longer and being faced with the prospect of spending two or more decades in retirement stuck in a marriage that is no longer working for them. Furthermore, couples who focused for much of their married lives on raising their children may find out they have very little in common once those children move out of the house. A more accepting social climate towards divorce has also made it easier for people to end a marriage and still find support among friends and family.

However, a gray divorce is not always easy. As the Post-Gazette recently reported, living costs tend to be much higher for single people than those who are married. Furthermore, people going through a divorce late in life need to ensure that any divorce order fully protects their retirement plans. Financial decisions made during a divorce often can't be undone, although they can have a major impact decades after the fact.

Legal representation

While relying on professional advice is a good idea for anybody considering a divorce, it is especially important for older individuals. A lot is at stake in a gray divorce, including pensions and retirement funds, and making any mistake could throw a person's retirement plan into jeopardy.

An experienced family law attorney should always be looked to during a divorce for expert legal guidance. With the right legal representation, people with any pressing family law matter will have the help they need to make sure their concerns are dealt with fairly and compassionately.