Research shows increase in gray divorces across the US

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, researchers have noticed a trend when it comes to divorce rates. Although the divorce rate for people of most age groups has remained relatively stable over the past few decades, the divorce rate among those over 50 years of age has risen.

These so-called gray divorces were the focus of a study conducted by researchers at Bowling Green State University's National Center for Family and Marriage Research. The study revealed that from 1990 to 2010, the divorce rate for those over age 50 doubled. In 2010, more than 640,000 people over the age of 50 got divorced - accounting for approximately one out of every four divorces that year. In contrast, in 1990, only one out of every 10 divorces involved individuals over the age of 50. In 1990, approximately 206,000 gray divorces took place in the United States.

Why are more people over 50 choosing to divorce?

As life expectancies have increased in the United States, those in the second half of their life are more apt to make a change if they are no longer happy in their marriage. In some cases, married couples may find they have very different images of their retired years, and choose to separate to pursue diverse interests.

In addition, the rising number of women who have entered the workplace and are financially independent has likely contributed to the increasing number of gray divorces. According to a survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 22 percent noted that wives filed for divorce more frequently than men.

Finally, as attitudes toward divorce shifted in recent decades, Baby Boomers were more likely to file for divorce if the marriage was not working. Consequently, a significant number of individuals over 50 have been married more than once. According to the Bowling Green State University data, those who have been married and divorced previously are more likely to file for divorce in a subsequent marriage.

Seek the advice of an attorney when considering divorce

Of course, the consequences of getting divorced later in life are different from those who divorce when they are younger. As those over 50 will have fewer years to work to make up any financial repercussions of the divorce, it is particularly important for those going through a gray divorce to protect their financial assets.

If you are considering a divorce later in life, consult with a skilled family law attorney to ensure your rights are protected.