Boomers and Gray Divorce: Things to Think About Before Separating

A recent Sacramento Bee article reported on how Baby Boomers are leading a new trend of what's called "gray divorce", which are divorces that occur after 20 years of marriage.

Although boomers grew up in an age when divorce was highly stigmatized and being with the same partner for the rest of your life was what was expected, their generation is one that emphasized individuality and independence. Many boomer couples, now that their children have become adults in the their own right, find that they have little in common with their partner and more and more are resorting to divorce.

Even though divorce is certainly an ending, it can also be a new beginning, especially now that you'll be at a point in your life of lessened responsibility. The kids are self-sufficient, you've had a successful career, and now you may be preparing for retirement or semi-retirement. While the idea of growing old with a spouse is certainly a comforting one, it can also be comforting to realize that your next few decades of life can signal the beginning of an entirely new existence. With longer life spans, the prospect of beginning new relationships after 45 or 50 is an entirely feasible one.

Another leading characteristic of "gray divorce" is that in over half of such separations, a recent poll conducted by the National Association on Divorce showed, the couples maintained an amicable relationship after divorce. Only 15% said they couldn't be in the same room as their ex, and a mere 4% said they managed to tolerate one another. Thus, although divorce is a draining, difficult experience, it need not be a completely unpleasant one. Of course, no one will say that divorce is ever an easy thing to do. It does complicate finances, not to mention the emotional toll that it takes can affect one for months or even years.

As a rule, divorce isn't something that should be taken lightly. It's best not to spring the prospect of separation on your partner out of the blue. Take time to consider it on your own, and ask your spouse what he or she thinks about the idea. Often, both parties desire a divorce but each are too apprehensive to bring it up as a topic of discussion.

If you are considering divorce as you approach retirement, it is very important to educate yourself about the legal aspects of securing your retirement after divorce. Even if you didn't work and your spouse did, you are still entitled to retirement benefits. For more information on pensions and divorce, check out this pamphlet published by PensionRights.org.

Regardless, for those who are considering divorce or are currently undergoing one, it is important to know that divorce no longer carries the social stigma it did. While marriage is certainly a rewarding experience, and many are up to the challenge of a life-long commitment, sometimes it's better to part ways and pursue other passions and interests.

For more helpful information on midlife divorces, check out the Boomer's Guide to Divorce (and a New Life).

This guest post is contributed by Tim Handorf, who writes on the topics of online colleges. He welcomes your comments at his email Id: tim.handorf.20@googlemail.com.

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