As the Baby Boom generation heads off into the sunset, more than a few boomers have decided that they want to go alone. Grey Divorce is on the rise. Bowling Green State University in Ohio reports that the divorce rate among 46 to 64 year-olds has jumped 50 percent in the last 20 years. Compare that to the Summer of Love in 1969 when the senior divorce rate hovered around 13 percent. One Florida attorney who specializes in grey divorce says some of his clients say they have “had enough” of their spouse and want out of the marriage.
This trend is all the more curious because the only demographic that is seeing an increase in divorce rates is the boomers. The rate is more or less steady in every other age grouping. Reasons for ending long-standing marriages vary considerably. Money and assets, of course, rank high. Physical and mental abuse, infidelity, alcohol, gambling, and disability are all causes seniors cite when dissolving their marriage. Sometimes it’s due to introspection; spouses find themselves near the end of their lives and feeling unfulfilled, no longer sharing common interests, wishing for a final adventure or a return to happier times. And often, the Golden Years are not very golden thanks to high debt and depleted retirement funds.
The fact that people are living longer plays a role in the grey divorce phenomenon. A couple of generations ago, couples didn’t have many years after retirement to get tired of each other. Now, with people routinely living into their 80’s and even 90’s, there is more time to get on each other’s nerves or conversely, to have that final adventure or check off that bucket list. At least they won’t have to battle over who gets custody of the kids.
Source: Bradenton Patch, “Grey divorce is new trend,” Dale Hutchings, Oct. 23, 2012