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Boomers outpace Greatest Generation in "gray divorces"

In our last post, we talked about some of the issues older couples face when they get divorced. In this post, we wanted to back it up a little and find out just why older couples are divorcing.

As we have discussed in earlier posts, analysis of the numbers from the 2010 U.S. Census show a big increase in marital breakups among couples over 50. Nationwide, and in Illinois, gray divorce is catching on. The rate at which people between the ages of 46 and 64 get divorced has mushroomed by over 50 percent in the last 20 years.

Yes, the Baby Boomer generation is hitting retirement age, and even after having spent decades together they are opting to split up. Some of the reasons are the same as for younger couples: disagreements on how to spend money, problems with substance abuse or use of alcohol. Physical, mental and verbal abuse are also divorce triggers for some older spouses.

Another important factor may be increased life spans, causing some who are unhappy in their marriages to more easily contemplate leaving them rather than face another 10, 20 or 30 years remaining disgruntled. The troubled state of the economy is also putting much stress on older couples who have not managed to adequately save for retirement.

Having inadequate financial resources can cause a lot of stress in a marriage. In some instances, older couples may have lost homes and may be faced with the uncomfortable prospect of moving in with their children. The reverse can also put a big strain on an older couple's marriage, such as when their adult children, even if married with children of their own, suffer long-term unemployment, foreclosure or significant illness without health insurance -- they move back home, and mom and dad may have different ideas about whether that should happen and how it will work.

In the end, really, Baby Boomers are no different from the rest of us. There are just more of them.

Source: Bradenton Patch, "Why Is Gray Divorce the New Trend?" Dale Hutchings, Oct. 22, 2012

Our firm works with older couples who are considering divorce, like the Baby Boomers discussed in this post. If you would like to learn more about our practice, please visit our Libertyville and Lake County divorce mediation page.

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