By Pamela Edwards-Swift, CFLS
My husband and I recently celebrated our wedding anniversary. We congratulated ourselves on making it another year and commented that the more years under our belt, the more likely we were to make it “until death do us part.” Although there is an element of truth to that, it is not a guarantee. After all, we all recently heard the announcement that Al and Tipper Gore were divorcing after forty years of marriage!
After the announcement of the Gore divorce, Newsweek printed an article entitled, “The Rise of the ‘Silver Divorce.’” In a nutshell, the authors, Pat Wingert and Barbara Kantrowitz, said that divorce, or at least the idea of it, is not rare with the baby-boom generation, and is more socially accepted in today’s world, than in years past. So even though the rockiest years are the early ones, and the longer a couple is married, the less likely they are to divorce, it can still happen. The article went on to state that this is not strictly an American phenomenon. Divorce is also happening more frequently in the 55 and older age group in Britain, France, Canada, and Japan.
So what is happening? One theory is that people are living longer, and staying healthier. They may not be ready to retire and sit in the rocking chair at 62. Perhaps one spouse may want to continue to work, while the other spouse wants a slower pace. After all, it is said, “60 is the new 50.” People are trying to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives and they may be looking at their partner of 40 years, and be thinking, is this the person I want to be with for another 30 years or so?
Quoting Betsey Stevenson, an assistant professor of business and public policy at the University of Pennsylvania, the article stated, “…(T)he years of social turbulence for these couples are far from over…(I)n the early years of their marriages, these couples were the first to confront the challenges of juggling two careers and balancing family and work. Now, as they face retirement, there are likely to be more battles over whether to keep working or start a new, slower-paced way of life. ‘They’re blazing a new way to live their lives past 60, and they’re figuring it out right now. Some will decide they have a lot of living left to do, and they may want to stop and reevaluate whether their marriage will continue to work for them over the next two decades,’ she says. ‘Some may make different choices about how to live the rest of their lives than they would if they thought they would die in a few years.’”
If your marriage is headed for divorce, no matter the length, make certain you choose an attorney to assist your particular needs. It is not “one size fits all.” Select an attorney educated and experienced in all types of divorce.
Pamela Edwards-Swift, Certified Family Law Specialist, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014; Southern California Super Lawyer