The Era Of The Gray Divorce

The Baby Boomer generation has had a huge impact on many categories of American life; from music to art to technology.  Those same boomers are now impacting family law as well.  Statistics have shown that the overall divorce rate over the past 20 plus years has actually declined. This could be because the marriage rate has decreased as well.  In spite of this overall decline in divorce, the divorce rate for couples over 50 has doubled over the same span of time.  This increase in the divorce rate of baby boomers, has led to the term “Gray Divorce”. There are probably many factors which have led to this increase in divorce over 50. As this generation increases in age, more and more people are celebrating their 50th birthday and as such the over 50 population has increased. The greater the number of people, the greater the number of divorces.  There are however other factors to be considered as well.  People are generally living longer, which results in potentially very long marital relationships.  As people age their perspective on life sometimes changes as well.  Their mortality comes into issue and couples who are not happy in their marriage no longer wish to remain together for the later part of their lives.   Some couples wait until their children are grown and have established their own lives.  Parents feel that after raising their children it is now “their time” to explore and enjoy life.  Unfortunately in many instances their spouse is not who they wish to share this experience with. Finances are the  most significant issues that accompany divorces for individuals in the later years of life. After years and years of working, owning a home and placing funds in retirement, the plans that were in the past shared, disappear with the signing of a Final Judgment granting the divorce. In Florida, equitable distribution of assets almost always results in an equal division between the parties. As a result, each will have only half of what they owned together. Expenses will increase as there will be the necessity of funding two residences.  This often times leads to parents moving in with their children or taking in a roommate.  In addition, because of the fact that the majority of their working years are behind them, they have less time to try and re-coup their losses.  Homes, which are usually a couple’s largest asset, will often have to be sold.  Monthly pension checks divided between the parties, often times resulting in a party having to continue working beyond the normal retirement age. There may be an alimony component which could cause additional financial complications. Although divorce proceedings for more mature adults can be less complicated due to the avoidance of child related issues, there are financial issues which less mature couples do not have to address.  I strongly suggest that before decisions are made it would be best to discuss your concerns with an experienced family law attorney.