Divorce in Pennsylvania: Why are so many baby boomers splitting up?

According to CNN, marriages in the United States on average are prone to divorce during the first seven to 10 years. But, today, more and more marriages that have lasted for 20, 30, and 40 years are ending. Termed the " grey divorce," individuals over the age of 50 are now divorcing at more rapid rates than ever.

The Rise in the Grey Divorce

While divorce rates overall have stabilized, an analysis of census data done by researchers at Bowling Green State University discovered that the divorce rate among baby boomers has nearly doubled since 1990. In addition to this research, the census' American Community Survey found that approximately 28 percent of those who stated that they had divorced within the previous year were also over the age of 50.

This high divorce rate among baby boomers can be attributed to several different factors. First, baby boomers grew up in a post-war economy that pushed against the restrictive social conventions that their parents had grown up with. Many baby boomers participated in anti-war, gay, women's and civil rights movements as young adults.

In addition to the era in which baby boomers grew up in, increasing life expectancies, divorce becoming more of a social norm and the rise in financial independence among women can also be considered contributors to this high divorce rate among this age group.

Implications of Divorcing Later In Life

While divorcing over the age of 50 can be freeing and empowering for many, it can also come with a different set of challenges that are not associated with divorcing at a younger age. Divorcees over the age of 50 have fewer years of life ahead of them than their younger divorcing counterparts and may find that they have limited opportunities to make up for the financial losses they encounter as a result of getting divorced.

Divorced baby boomers may find that they have to stay in the workforce longer than they had originally planned or may have to reenter it after several years or even decades. To ease the financial strains of divorcing later in life, baby boomers should:

  • Make sure that their divorce settlement clearly outlines how pensions, IRAs and 401ks will be allocated.
  • Consider new insurance options such as life, disability and casualty policies.
  • Come up with a financial plan that outlines their finances for the short-term as well as into retirement.

Hiring an attorney can also ensure that your financial interests and assets are protected during the divorce process. If you and your spouse are considering divorce after many years of marriage, contact an attorney in your area.