For many people over the age of 50 in Libertyville and across the country, divorce is increasingly common among their age group and demographic cohort. While the divorce rate across the United States has remained steady or even declined over the past two decades, the opposite has been true for people over 50, members of the Baby Boomer generation. Since the mid-1990s, the divorce rate for people over 50 has doubled, and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
When people end their marriages over 50, this is referred to as a “gray divorce.” The term is applied equally to people ending a relationship that has spanned decades or people who are divorcing after a shorter marriage, often their second or third. There are a number of reasons why the divorce rate for older Americans has grown, including the growth in the average life expectancy in the United States and the larger number of Baby Boomers alive. While in 1990, there were 63.5 people in the United States over 50, with the aging of this generation, that number grew to 99 million by 2010.
The improvement in health and life expectancy has accompanied the general increase in the population. In the 66 years between 1950 and 2016, average life expectancy increased by 10 years for both men and women. When people live longer lives, they may be less willing to put up with problematic marriages, especially when they are accompanied by infidelity, physical or emotional abuse, financial waste or drug addiction.
When people over 50 choose to divorce, there may often be serious concerns about financial recovery prior to retirement. People of any age who are seeking a divorce may benefit from working with a family law attorney to protect their interests and seek a just settlement in spousal support, asset division and other matters.