Members of the Baby Boomer generation typically have a fair number of pressing questions on their minds these days. Should I retire now or keep working? Will the stock market recover? Is the house worth keeping? Are the kids set up for success? Should I get a divorce?
While this last question may seem somewhat random or even strange, consider that researchers at Bowling Green University have discovered that the rate of gray divorces — meaning those involving people age 50 and over — has more than doubled over the last 20 years.
Some experts suggest that one of the primary reasons why the divorce rate among Boomers has climbed so high for so long has to do with a generational mindset. Specifically, Boomers were the first generation to enter marriages largely for personal fulfillment, meaning they were more interested in their own happiness than perhaps financial security or filling certain gender roles.
When this happiness is gone, these experts argue, Boomers may decide it’s time to end the marriage.
“[I]n this generation, your children leave home, you look at your husband or your wife, you realize that you’re not happy, you’re not as afraid to leave,” said psychotherapist and author Rachel Sussman. “So people are exiting in high numbers.”
One of the more interesting aspects of gray divorces is that they are initiated by women two-thirds of the time.
Some experts say that this can be attributed to the fact that women in long-term marriages are often financially independent and therefore don’t feel obligated to make it work with their husbands.
“Basically, women are in the workforce. They are earning, they’re independently, economically sound, and they can do it. So they’re not staying around if they’re unhappy,” said psychologist Karen Bridbord.
Experts do seem to have reached a consensus on two important points. First, that Boomer spouses should devote considerable thought into whether they want to secure a divorce. Second, that Boomer spouses even considering a divorce should try couple’s counseling beforehand as it can potentially help save the marriage or, at the very least, lay the foundation for an amicable split.
Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about dissolution of marriage, property division or spousal support, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
CBS News, “‘Gray divorces’ increasing sharply,” Oct. 13, 2012