Exploring the Phenomenon Behind “Gray Divorce”
By: Christopher Casserly, Esquire
Divorce rates in the United States have begun to level off after seeing consistent annual increases since the 1970’s. But while the overall numbers seem to be recently somewhat static, there is one demographic that is seeing exponential growth every year. Divorce rates for the baby boomer generation are on the steady rise- in 1990 fewer than 10% of those getting divorced were over the age of 50. Today, the over-50 demographic represents one out of every four divorces. What is the driving force behind this somewhat sudden phenomenon known as “Gray Divorce?”
Part of the answer is volume. As of 2011, 25% of Americans were born between 1946 and 1964. Divorce rates peaked in 1979 as the baby boomer generation began turning 30. More people had been born, more people were getting married, and more people were getting divorced. Because of their sheer volume, baby boomers matured through the second half of the 20th century and radically shifted societal norms as they did so. Fast forward to today- while the national divorce rate has begun to level off, baby boomers continue to skew statistics partly because their demographic is so vast.
But there is more to this phenomenon than a simple post World War II spike in population. The baby boomer generation has never been an outlier or anomaly but rather a catalyst tearing through the 20th century and redefining the status-quo along the way. As divorce became more widespread in the 1970’s and 1980’s it became less taboo, and vice-versa. Today divorce is common- close to half of marriages are ending in divorce. Any stigmas that were attached to couples going through a divorce have eroded as more and more people find themselves moving on from an unfulfilling marriage and beginning the next chapters in their lives. Divorce continues to become accepted as Americans place more emphasis on living full and fulfilling lives- one could understand why a person would elect not to spend their golden years feeling trapped in a toxic and loveless relationship.
If you have decided to make the best of your golden years by getting out of an unfulfilling or unhealthy marriage, you should consult with an attorney who can walk you through the steps of divorce.
To schedule an appointment with one of our attorney’s or for further information, call us at LaMonaca Law, at (610) 892-3877