Even as national divorce rates have dropped over the past 2 decades, there has been a spike in ‘gray divorce,’ or divorces involving senior citizens. In fact, according to some estimates, senior citizen divorces have spiked to some of their highest levels on record.
In 1990, people above the age of 50 accounted for just 1 in 10 divorces. By 2009, that number had increased to 1 in 4. In 2009, more than 600,000 people of this age group filed for divorce. What’s more, many experts estimate that the number of divorces involving senior citizens could soon touch 800,000 per year.
Senior divorces differ from divorce filings involving younger persons in some ways. Infidelity, which is a major factor in divorces nationally, is not a huge factor in senior divorces, and accounts for just 27% of these filings. Money is also not a major reason, with many senior couples financially well-established. Many of these divorces can be traced to a lack of fulfillment in the marriage and the consequences of an empty nest syndrome.
Seniors in the year 2012 belong to the baby boomer generation, arguably the first generation to perceive marriage as a means of self-improvement, rather than as an economic and social institution. Baby boomers are likely to have high expectations of their marriage, and those expectations are likely to seem unfulfilled when children have grown and flown the coop.
Also, senior citizen divorces may involve different financial concerns. For instance, there may be college loan payments that need to be maintained, and children’s wedding expenses that must be covered.
The Seattle divorce lawyers at the The Seattle Family Law Group are dedicated to the representation of persons in divorce, child support, child custody, alimony and other family law issues across Seattle.