The Baby Boom generation (those born between 1946-1964) grew up in a time when divorce was no longer the social disgrace it was at one point in time. If they see it as an acceptable option to deal with a marriage that is no longer working for them, they may not be as motivated to try to work out issues in the marriage as previous generations were. As women became less economically dependent on their spouses, they became more likely to seek a divorce than to try staying in an unworkable marriage.
Baby Boomers are more educated than any previous American Generation and their divorce rate is triple that of their parent's generation. Break ups among long term married couples are becoming more frequent with longer life spans and the growing acceptability of divorce. In 2008, a quarter of all divorces reported were marriages of over 20 years with divorces of couples 55 or older rising moderately. A longer life span means the possibility of a new relationship, and opportunities for re-partnering after age 55 are greater than they used to be.
Interestingly enough, people who make up the tail end of the baby boomer generation are less likely to divorce. According to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau, 29.2 percent of men born between 1945 and 1949 were divorced before the of 40. Whereas among men born between 1960-1964, the divorce rate by age 40 was 25.4 percent.
The numbers for female Baby Boomers were similar. Out of those women born during the early portion of the Baby Boom generation, 34.4 percent were divorced by age 40. Later-born Baby Boomers were less likely to be divorced by the same age with only 30.3 percent of them having legally ended a marriage.
The top three reasons for long term marriage dissolutions are Abuse, Infidelity, and Money Control Issues. Another common issue involving couples who have been married for decades is taking their marriages for granted. Baby Boomers are sometimes focusing on different issues until it is too late to seek a reconnect with their estranged spouses. These break ups are often referred to as "Cold Divorces" characterized by isolation, distance and disengagement and are usually a product of a gradual buildup. Empty Nester divorces are also on the rise, since the spouses no longer have their children to hold the marriage together. An AARP survey of older divorced couples found that two-thirds of the divorces were initiated by the woman, frequently to the surprise of the man.
A recent poll was conducted by the National Association of Divorce for Women & Children and the Baby Boomer on divorce. The results were really startling! 41% of all participants said that dealing with finances, debt and security were the most challenging parts of finalizing a divorce. Asset division was second at 19%, and Custody of the Children was third at 13%.
Finally, 55% of the participants reported having an amicable relationship with their former spouse. 15% could not be in the same room with their former spouse and only 4% reported they had learned to tolerate the other for the sake of their children!
Here's some other interesting statistics about divorce:
- Spouses who argue at least once a week about money are 30% more likely to get divorced.
- If your parents are divorced, you are 40% more likely to get divorced.
- If both of you have been previously divorced, you are 90% more likely to seek divorce than those of a first marriage.
The US Census estimates about half of all marriages end in divorce! So if you find yourself headed down the path toward divorce, no matter what your age, please make sure that you get the right legal advice. I offer a free initial consultation where you can get your questions answered and ensure that any potential divorce is as smooth as possible.