Even as the overall national divorce rate has been declining over the past two decades, the divorce rate for Baby Boomers has actually been increasing. According to research by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University, the divorce rate for people 50 or older in the United States has doubled.
Experts speculate that the reason for the increasing divorce rate among Baby Boomers is that this category of people is financially well-settled. But there is more to it than that. People of this age group generally fall into two categories.
The first have the financial means to get a divorce. With established careers and/or sizable assets or retirement benefits, the spouses do not feel forced to stay in a marriage because they would leave with “nothing.” Nor are they as worried about how to support themselves.
However, at the other extreme are Baby Boomers who are not doing well financially, resulting in stress. Perhaps they were laid off, are struggling to find work, and will not qualify for Social Security for some years. Or their health costs are rising, their retirement stock options have become nearly worthless during the economic downturn, and, at the same time, their children’s college tuition bills are rolling in. Stress over money often contributes to divorce, research shows. Therefore, it's both a lack of money as well as a lack of it that contributes to higher divorce rates among Baby Boomers.
Also, divorces may be an easier option for Baby Boomers with older children. Some parents consciously choose to stay in a bad marriage to protect young children, but once the children move out of the house, the unhappy spouse is more than ready to leave.
The New Jersey family lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in divorce, child custody, child support, domestic violence and other family law-related matters across New Jersey.