Recently, Huffington Post posted a map of where marriages go to die. It showed a color graph by state, and then listed the ten cities with the most divorces. I don’t know what I expected to see. However, I was surprised that California had one of the lowest divorce rates in the nation. What really caught my attention though was the list of cities with the most divorces. Reno, of course, was one of the top ten cities. But, also among the top ten were one city in Arizona and four in Florida. As a general rule, one thinks of Arizona and Florida as places to retire, not divorce. Those two states especially conjure up visions of sunshine, golf courses, plaid shorts with knee high socks, gray hair, and lots of smiles. The reality is that many senior couples may not be that happy.
Forty years ago and more, divorce was still considered a social stigma. There was a time when the term divorc�e was considered to be very negative; it was assumed the divorc�e, usually a woman, was quite tawdry. Not so now. Today, divorce is everywhere. If it’s not your parents who are divorced, it’s your brother, sister, cousin, or neighbor. Odds are you don’t just know a few divorced couples, you know many. That is probably why divorces among senior citizens and people who have been married 50 years or longer are becoming more and more common. It’s an accepted chapter of one’s life. Whether it’s the social acceptance, the fact that we are living much longer, Viagra, or something else, is unknown. Whatever the reason more couples in the silver generation are divorcing.
I am primarily hearing from my older divorcing clients that they do not want to spend their final years being so unhappy. They expect to live at least ten years more and they are tired of being miserable. These people aren’t baby boomers, they are the parents of baby boomers. They have lived a long life, and are living longer than they ever thought they would. At 70 or 80, they also feel and look much better than they ever thought they would at such an age. A longer life allows more time to write a new chapter.
If you’ve been married more than 50 years and are contemplating ending your marriage, you are not alone.
Pamela Edwards-Swift, Certified Family Law Specialist, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014; Southern California Super Lawyer