Baby boomer divorce rate rises

In Maryland and across the country, baby boomers are getting divorced far more often than they were just a few decades ago. In fact, it is twice as likely today for persons 50 years of age and older to get divorced than it was for the same age group 20 years ago.

This trend among baby boomers is opposite the trend for other groups, which have seen a fall in divorce rates since the onset of the recession. While the reasons for this atypical rise is unclear, many baby boomers say that they are obtaining a termination of marriage because their partners have become different people than they were when they first got married some 30 or 40 years before.

Some experts have said that modern society places a heavier weight on an individual’s happiness than that which existed 20 years ago. This includes a lessened expectation that people will remain in unhappy relationships, which in turn increases the likelihood that dissatisfied partners will seek divorce. In short, some say our culture has become more tolerant of marriage, emphasizing the importance of the individual over that of marriage as an institution.

In addition, women today are more likely to be financially self-sufficient than in the past. Women in the baby boomer group have more resources than did people in the same age group 20 years before, and it is thus easier for them to leave their husbands than it was for women in prior generations.

Of course, ending a long marriage can be especially difficult when it comes to property division. A great deal of marital property can accumulate over several decades, which can complicate the process even for those splitting amicably. Maryland courts use equitable division, which means the judge will divide property based on a notion of fairness.

On the other hand, most baby boomers no longer have young children. This helps cut down on messy child custody disputes, child support issues or questions regarding visitation.

Source: ABC 2 News, “Which section of the population is seeing more marriages break up?” April 25, 2012