The Baby Boomer generation has had a huge impact on many categories of American life; from music to art to technology. Those same boomers are now impacting family law as well. Statistics have shown that the overall divorce rate over the last 20 plus years has declined. This could be because the marriage rate has decreased as well. In spite of this overall decline in divorce, the rate for those couples over 50 has doubled over the same span of time. One out of every four divorces filed in 2010 were involving couples over 50. This increase in the divorce rate of these boomers has led to the term “Gray Divorce”.
There are probably many factors that have led to this increase. As this generation increases in age, more and more people are celebrating their 50th birthday and as such the over 50 population has increased. The greater the number of people, the greater the number of divorces.
There are, however, other factors to be considered as well. People are generally living longer, which results in potentially very long marital relationships. As people age their prospective on life sometimes changes as well. Their mortality comes into issue and couples who are not happy in their marriage, no longer wish to remain together for the later part of their lives. Some couples wait until their children are grown and have established their own lives. Parents feel that after raising their children it is now “their time” to explore and enjoy life. Unfortunately, in many instances, their spouse is not who they wish to share this experience with.
Finances are the most significant issues that accompany divorces for individuals in the later years of life. After years and years of working, owning a home and placing funds in retirement, the plans that were in the past shared, disappear with the signing of a Final Judgment granting the divorce.
In Florida, the equitable distribution of assets almost always results in an equal division between the parties. As a result, each will have only half of what they owned together. Expenses will increase as there will be the necessity of funding two residences. This oftentimes leads to parents moving in with their children or taking in a roommate. In addition, because of the fact that the majority of their working years are behind them, they have less time to try and recoup their losses. Homes, which are usually a couple’s largest asset, will often have to be sold. Monthly pension checks divided between the parties, oftentimes resulting in a party having to continue working beyond the normal retirement age.
There may be an alimony component that could cause additional financial complications. Although divorce proceedings for more older adults can be less complicated due to the avoidance of child-related issues, there are financial issues that younger couples do not have to address.
We strongly suggest that before decisions are made it would be best to discuss your concerns with an experienced family law attorney.