There is an intensifying trend amongst members of the baby boomer generation to file for divorce. Dubbed “gray divorce,” many people who are eclipsing the age of 50 are dissolving their marriage at a rate that has never been seen before.
The National Center for Family and Marriage found that in 1990, the divorce rate for people aged 50-64 was 10%. Fast forward two decades to the year 2009, and that divorce rate is now 25%. A separate study done by the AARP in 2004 found that of these divorces, about two-thirds are initiated by women. It is a dramatic change for this age group, one that has traditionally strayed from divorce.
There are a few reasons for this shift in contemplation by older adults. Some couples watch their kids leave for college and soon discover problems in their marital life that were previously unnoticeable. Other couples get bored and re-evaluate their situation, re-invent themselves and take on life in a completely new way. Part of this transformation could be filing for divorce.
Another force at play is the rising benefits of living alone. Roughly 28% of Americans are living by themselves, according to an author who researched the subject. The independence grants many women – who tend to live more active lives than men as they get older – the chance to fulfill some of the dreams and opportunities they may have sacrificed while raising a family.
Between the possibility of growing apart from their spouse and the desire to cross off items on their bucket list, an older generation of Americans is ushering in this new era of “gray divorce.”
Source: Palm Beach Post, “After age 50, women are divorcing at double the rate of 20 years ago,” Barbara Marshall, Feb. 6, 2012