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Baby boomer divorce is booming in Pennsylvania and nationwide

Divorce rates are growing among baby boomers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere as more people are reaching the ages of 50 and older. For this demographic group, the rate of divorce has doubled in the last two decades, despite a general decline in national divorce rates since the 1980's. Additionally, many of these individuals are not new to the divorce process, and have seen at least one other divorce in their lives.

Many boomer couples are believed to have originally sought marriage as a fulfillment of personal and individual happiness, rather than as an economic benefit. It appears that many boomers are using this same rationale to end the marriages. The idea that their marriage is no longer satisfying their personal needs is cited as one of the most common reasons for seeking a divorce later in life.

Of course, there are many factors that typically must be considered in the settlement of the divorce. For boomers, this is made particularly unique by the place in life that older people are in when they make the decision to separate. Many have already seen their children reach adulthood, so child custody is less of a concern, although child support may still be a factor if the children are still under the financial support of their parents as they pursue higher education. Additionally, a lifelong accumulation of shared assets also provides a potential settlement hurdle to overcome.

Pennsylvania boomers who are considering divorce would benefit from understanding what is involved, particularly if their children remain financially dependent. Many older people who have ended their marriages consider themselves happy, and this is made easier by simplifying the process of settlement. Divorce proceedings can sometimes be lengthy and expensive, and couples may benefit from working with experienced attorneys to make the process as easy and painless as possible while achieving an equitable resolution of all outstanding issues.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "The Gray Divorcés," Susan Gregory Thomas, March 3, 2012

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