Over the past few decades, a very unusual divorce trend has taken shape. While baby boomers and elderly Americans are more inclined to get divorced than ever before, the divorce rates for millennials and Gen X couples have actually dropped, lowering the total national divorce rate by more than 18% between 2008 and 2016 alone.
Although this tilt towards more “grey divorces” might seem surprising, there are multiple cultural and economic reasons behind this shift in the divorce data. At Myers Family Law, our skilled lawyers can help families of all ages and sizes to find a fresh start after divorce, and navigate successfully through the divorce process. Whether you’re a baby boomer or a Gen X-er, we can provide exactly the compassionate legal support you need, right when you need it.
Why Are Millennial Divorce Rates Decreasing?
When it comes to our dating and marriage habits, Americans have witnessed a dramatic cultural shift in recent years. Where couples once married young and then re-married multiple times over the course of their lives, today’s young couples are often postponing that first marriage by several years. By waiting until they feel secure in their careers, educations, and finances, millennial and Gen X couples may be less likely to marry overall – but they’re also less likely to get divorced.
Here are just a few of the possible reasons millennials are less likely to get divorced:
- Cohabitation is now seen as a viable alternative option, which increases the chance that a relationship will end before marriage.
- Due to the popularity of dating apps, there’s increased acceptance for people of all genders to “play the field” before marriage.
- Marriage is becoming a more expensive institution, with the average cost of a wedding alone at $33,000 nationwide.
- When surveyed, millennials often report that they’re highly selective when looking for a marriage partner.
Another study also found that the majority of adults in their 30s have now cohabitated with another partner. In 1987, only 33% of women between the ages of 19 and 44 had ever cohabitated; by 2010, that number had nearly doubled to 60%. Although most modern marriages are now preceded by cohabitation, many young couples are also opting to avoid marriage altogether, even when they share children in common. This can present its own array of legal and economic problems, particularly if the relationship begins to break down.
The Grey Divorce Revolution
On the other end of the age spectrum, baby boomers have continued to divorce at steadily high rates compared to other age groups. By 2015, the divorce rate had actually tripled amongst couples older than 65, when compared to the same age category back in 1990. While there are signs that the “grey divorce” trend has begun to reach a stabilizing point, the fact remains that older Americans are splitting up more often than their younger counterparts.
This too can be partly explained by changing cultural attitudes about marriage. Although it was once frowned upon for elderly or middle-aged couples to get divorced, more couples now feel comfortable admitting that they’ve been unhappy in a decades-long marriage. With more dual-income families, older women may also feel less financially dependent on their spouse than they did in the past, and see great value in pursuing their own long-term happiness. Once any children have successfully left the nest, older couples often decide that it’s time to try a different path – and for many, that can be an incredibly freeing experience.
Committed Counsel for Divorcees of All Ages
No matter your age or unique situation, our Granite Bay family law attorneys can help you find a divorce solution that works for your family, as well as minimizes the stress a break-up can bring. Offering skilled assistance from a Bar Certified Family Law Specialist and a Certified Mediator, we can help you get through everything from bitterly contested divorce to a collaborative and amicable parting.
When you need help with your divorce in Northern California, just call Myers Family Law at (916) 634-0067. We offer low-cost, 30-minute consultations in Placer County and beyond.