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Lack of Communication Leads to Rising Baby Boomer Divorce Rates

Over the past 20 years, divorce rates have been on the decline overall. However, for people age 50 or older, the rate of divorce has doubled and is expected to continue to climb. Many baby-boomers– people born between 1946 and 1964– are chucking their “until death do us part” vows out the window and opting to live their senior years with a new spouse or as a footloose and fancy-free “grey” divorcee.

Lack of communication is cited as the number one reason why these marriages fall apart. Divorce lawyers and therapists state that infidelity is often the catalyst for the divorce but point out that couples have often grown apart well beforehand.

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Social expectations and financial considerations used to hold many marriages together. Now, changing times are leading more people to seriously consider divorce. Sometimes, when a couple reaches retirement age, they realize the person they married decades previously is now a stranger to them. Adjusting to spending all day, every day, with their spouse can put a strain on the relationship.

Retiring spouses who defined themselves by their jobs can experience identity crises when they stop working. They suddenly have too much time on their hands and can get restless, particularly if the communication level with the person they live with is poor.

If the couple decides to divorce, they are in much different positions than are younger divorcing couples. Most have amassed their wealth by this time, and there are no longer young children at home to care for. Accordingly, negotiating property division and any alimony payment is of primary importance. Massachusetts provides for equitable division of property rather than a 50/50 split of assets.

During a “grey divorce,” the non-wage-earning spouse is advised to negotiate for a portfolio of assets including a residence and retirement as well as non-retirement financial accounts. He or she is also smart to save a portion of the support received because it will need to support the individual through his or her senior years. Wage-earners may wish to pay more support upfront for a shorter time period, freeing them to have access to all of their earnings later on.

Whatever your situation or age, divorce can be emotionally and physically draining. Consult with an experienced lawyer skilled in negotiating and resolving family law issues to preserve your rights to marital assets and to help you plan your new, exciting future.

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