Exploring the Phenomenon Behind Gray Divorce

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


About the author

About Christopher Casserly

Chris joined the firm in 2013 after graduating from Villanova University School of Law. While at Villanova Chris focused on Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution. In addition, he participated in the Villanova Law Civil Justice Clinic where he advocated for indigent clients facing custody issues. Prior to attending law school, Chris received his B.A. from Providence College where he studied English and French. Chris is a Supervising Attorney and Team Leader at LaMonaca Law. Chris was named a “Top Lawyer” in Family Law by Main Line Today in 2015 and 2017, as well as a Best Lawyer in the area of Adoption in the Delaware County Daily Times. He is a member of the American Bar Association Family Law Section, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, and the Delaware County Bar Association, where he serves as chair of the Family Law Section’s Custody Committee. When he’s not advocating for his clients, Chris enjoys cooking, all things Seinfeld-related, and being at the shore with his family and their dog, Molly.