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Many Massachusetts residents may be aware that gray divorces (those that occur after the age 50) have increased over the past few decades. In fact, it is estimated that 25 percent of all divorces are gray divorces. There are a number of factors that may have caused this increase.

Part of the surge in gray divorce rates is due to the fact that the baby boomer population is aging. For example, there were only an estimated 63.5 million Americans who were age 50 or older in 1990. By 2010, there were an estimated 99 million Americans aged 50 or older. On top of this, both men and women have a longer average life expectancy in 2016 than they did in 1950. Not only are there more people in that age group, but people are also living longer.

Furthermore, there are some societal reasons why baby boomers may get gray divorces. Prior to the 1960s, couples were bound to marriages by their responsibility toward each other. After the 1960s, marriage became more about self-fulfillment and self-empowerment. In addition, couples that have been married longer may have to deal with more animosities that build over time. For example, there may be disagreements over how children were raised or how the money was spent.

In many cases of gray divorces, the former couple has built a life together and accumulated property, including financial assets, that will need to be divided. Because property division at this point could have an impact on retirement plans, a family law attorney may help an ex-spouse determine what his or her future after the divorce will look like.