When people think about a divorced couple in California, they may envision young spouses married for a short time. While people in all demographics opt for divorce to end unhappy relationships, the number of Baby Boomers choosing to end their marriages has grown. The term "gray divorce" is often used to describe separations for spouses over the age of 50. While American divorce rates have stabilized across the country, the gray divorce rate has doubled since the mid-1990s. In fact, one-fourth of all divorces across the country happen over the age of 50.
There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon, including the growing number of healthy, active, older people. While in 1990, there were 63.5 million Americans over 50, there were 99 million in 2010. This number is expected to continue to grow as life expectancy continues to increase. The combination of these factors has made divorce a more relevant and likely choice for Boomers.
While people early in the 20th century associated marriage with responsibility, they also associated divorce with a breach of those responsibilities. This means that divorce was more likely to be acceptable in cases of adultery, addiction or other serious issues. While divorce is now acceptable even when couples have simply grown apart, traditional problems continue to be major factors.
When spouses are over 50, there are important factors to consider while planning for the practical consequences of divorce. A family law attorney can work with a spouse of any age and advocate for their interests.