Research Shows Rise in “Gray Divorce”

As baby boomers age, they are initiating yet another social trend–a rise in divorce rates. According to a recent study from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) that polled 1,600 lawyers, 61 percent noted an increase in divorce cases with parties in the over-50 age group.

Lawyers call a divorce after 50 a “gray divorce.” High profile gray divorces have occasionally made headlines in the past five years, including the split of Al and Tipper Gore and Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore, but the actual statistics are startling: a report from the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University found that in the United States, the rate of divorce among “adults ages 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2009.” According to that study, more than 600,000 people ages 50 and older got a divorce in 2009.

Researchers and lawyers have not linked the sharp rise in divorce rates to any factors in particular. However, both studies showed that wives were initiating gray divorces at higher rates than their husbands. Alton Abramowitz, president of the AAML, said the change must be attributed to a combination of factors, including longer life spans and ease of obtaining a divorce.

“Some people find a younger partner,” Abramowitz said. “Some people find their interests have diverged. Each case is different.”

Divorce can be an emotionally and financially taxing procedure, says the website of the Marshall & Taylor Family Law and Divorce firm. For those who are looking to end an unsatisfying marriage, seeking the advice of an experienced attorney can protect your interests and help the divorce proceed quickly. A legal professional may be able to help you in matters of divorce, child custody or visitation rights, alimony, and division of assets.