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Older couples divorcing at breakneck pace across America

The so-called "baby boomer" generation is known for their positive contributions to society, including a strong work ethic, cultural revolutions (like the beatnik generation, and rock and roll, among others), technological and scientific advancements and pioneering medical breakthroughs. They are now gaining attention for another issue, though, and this one certainly isn't as positive: their record high divorce rate.

The divorce rate for couples over the age of 50 has more than doubled in the past 20 years. A research study performed by sociologists at Bowling Green State University provides some startling context for the sharp divorce rate uptick: in 1990, one out of every 10 people in the 50+ age demographic was divorced. That number has now skyrocketed to one out of every four people in the same age range having gone through at least one divorce proceeding.

In contrast, the divorce rate for people under the age of 50 has been holding steady at about 50 percent for years now. Experts aren't sure why exactly there has been such a sharp increase for older couples, but the growing acceptance of divorce, longer life spans, removal of stigma about subsequent marriages and a societal awareness of the importance of personal satisfaction for married people have all likely contributed.

Whereas a young couple who haven't been married long can divorce relatively easily, these "gray divorces" where the parties have been married 20, 30 years are usually more difficult. "Baby boomer divorces" typically involve more complex property division issues, joint debts, commingled assets, the need for spousal support, retirement accounts, pensions and other complicated issues.

Source: Inquistr, "Old Age Divorce Records Have Baby Boomers Reworking Their Dating Game," George Nielsen, May 15, 2014.

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