‘Gray Divorces’ are Trending as Baby Boomers Reach Financial Security
We all understand the storm of emotions within the context of “Fifty Shades of Gray,” but what about a gray divorce?
More and more this is a term that lawyers and divorce courts alike are using to account for the rising and unprecedented number of divorces among baby boomers.
As boomers reach retirement age, they finally find themselves with the financial stability and means of independence to facilitate a divorce.
The baby boomer generation is loosely defined as individuals born between the late 1940s and the early 1960s. Many of these individuals got married at a young age during the 70s, had children, and settled into careers and family roles soon after.
For a couple experiencing turmoil, this trajectory left little financial wiggle room for a casual divorce.
“In my practice, I’m seeing more and more clients who have been married for over twenty years,” says Ken Phillips, Partner, Law Office of Kenneth J. Phillips. “A couple married this long are deeply intertwined on many levels and it is time consuming and complicated to get them divorced, even if they maintain a certain level of trust and communication. One of the relatively new options is the availability of collaborative divorce, where couples, even ones with more difficult situations, work together with their attorneys and other certified professionals. The process is often faster, cheaper and less emotionally destructive than the traditional method of doing everything through the courts.”
But now that these individuals have aged, many of these couples are cashing in their retirements, untying the proverbial knot, and breaking out even.
According to a study conducted by Bowling Green State University, about one quarter of all divorce proceedings were filed by individuals aged 55 and older.
So what caused this major shift in divorce filings? Perhaps the gray divorce trend can be attributed to the differing values of the baby boomer generation as opposed to modern values.
Today, individuality and personal pursuit is considered a right and a passage. In contrast, the baby boomer’s mantra was very much “sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice”.
Now, these graying but enthusiastic divorcees are very much ready to seize the day of singledom.
Since many of these divorcing couples have dual incomes, surviving solo doesn’t seem so far fetched anymore. Paired with increased rates of life expectancy, more and boomers are choosing to enjoy the rest of their lives solo.