Baby boomers divorce in record numbers

The Columbus Dispatch recently reported that research shows that baby boomers are, for their age group, opting to divorce in record numbers after reevaluating their marriages.

The newspaper interviewed a Worthington, Ohio, baby boomer who, after 23 years of marriage, finds himself divorced. The man indicated that, after their two daughters became grown, he and his wife gradually grew apart as their differences became more apparent and marital tensions gradually escalated.

According to a ground-breaking study undertaken by Bowling Green State University researchers Susan Brown and I-Fen Li, the divorce rate of adults age 50 and older doubled in the 20 years after 1990; 25 percent of all divorces in 2010 occurred among the 50 and older crowd. Brown and Li point out that, in 1990, about 206,007 of those age 50 and older were divorced; in 2010, that number was 643,152.

Brown and Li indicate that there are several factors which have caused a graying of divorce. One is a weakening norm of marriage as a 'till-death-do-us-part' institution. Further, lifelong marriages are more difficult to sustain due to the fact that we increasingly live in an era of individualism and longer life expectancies. As a result, people are loath to remain in "empty shell marriages." Largely, however, a higher divorce rate for baby boomers reflects the fact that many older couples simply grow apart over the years. Brown and Li foresee that, as the population continues to age, the divorce rate for older couples will continue to climb.

Consequences of divorce for baby boomer couples

In an article appearing in USA Today, the financial experts who were interviewed explained that a divorce of those 50 years of age or older can, for all intents and purposes, torpedo any financial planning already in place for the so-called golden years. This is because the pool of money that was originally going to fund a retirement for a couple will now be split in half and used to support two separate and distinct households. The problem is that it costs more for two people to live separately than as a couple. As a result, a divorce of a baby boomer couple can push back the date that retirement can take place.

In the USA Today article, financial planners offered the following suggestions to baby boomers on the brink of a divorce:

  • Keep financial planning firmly in mind if you are about to divorce.
  • Do not panic over the fact that you are no longer 35 years old. Longer life spans and better health gives the person who divorces in their 50s years, if not decades, to rebuild savings.
  • Do not make the mistake of supporting adult children who are physically and mentally capable of fending for themselves.
  • Consider changing your lifestyle to cut costs by perhaps downsizing your residence and eating out a bit less frequently at pricey restaurants.

Divorce in Ohio

In Ohio, marriages may be legally ended by divorce or dissolution. While the means are different, the end result is the same in that either divorce or dissolution of marriage terminates the marriage. If you are contemplating or facing a divorce, you need to contact a family law attorney who can assist you. It is especially imperative to have an experienced family law attorney who will take into account your financial planning objectives if you have a long marriage which is coming to an end. The financial consequences of a divorce for which no financial planning has been taken into account could be enormous.