The American economy has recently caused couples to rethink getting divorced for financial reasons, but in spite of the economy, aging citizens are getting divorced at a dramatically increasing rate. In fact, the Office for National Statistics reports that every age group’s divorce rate is declining except for those over 60 years old.
CBS reports that the current divorce rate among senior citizens is roughly 35 percent (much higher than it was merely 10 years ago). This leaves many experts asking why there has been such a sudden jump in elderly divorces.
Some have suggested the usual reasons such as lack of communication, adultery, financial cheating, or abuse. While these are certainly the cause of several baby boomer divorces, the real reason behind the increase seems to be a significant cultural change.
Happiness Is the Key
Deirdre Bair, in her book “Calling it Quits,” suggested that women, in particular, are more willing to take a chance and venture into the unknown than in previous generations. She asserts that women now believe they have a right to be happy regardless of how long they have been married to their husbands.
Additionally, people are living longer and once children are self-sufficient adults, even elderly couples who had very happy marriages might realize they need their own time as they enter retirement.
Finally, most baby boomers have some semblance of economic security, thus making divorce more practicable relative to those in their 20s, 30s or 40s. For example, the younger generations may lack the financial resources to live on their own, or might fear their children growing up without a two-parent household. Most baby boomers, however, do not have these same concerns and view divorce as a way to spend their final years happy and content.
Divorce as an older couple can be just as complex and confusing as a younger couple’s. Anyone having questions about divorce or what it involves should speak with a qualified divorce attorney to learn their rights and discuss their potential options.