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Divorce rate for older adults on the rise

Young California couples who marry may be less likely to divorce than their older counterparts, but experts say it is still too soon to tell. Baby boomers have kept the divorce rate high. In fact, people over 65 are now getting divorced at three times the rate they did in 1990. Among people 55 to 64, the rate has more than doubled. The overall divorce rate is down, but due to the high rate of baby boomer divorces, just over 50 percent of marriages still end in divorce.

Millennials are marrying later or not marrying at all, and this might contribute to fewer potential divorces in this age group. People are also less likely to remarry, and this may also drive the divorce rate down since second marriages are more likely to end in divorce. However, the median length of first marriages is 12 years, and many of those millennial marriages may not have reached this point yet.

Experts cite a change in state laws for divorce and women's financial independence as contributors to the higher divorce rate. Baby boomers also see divorce in a different light compared to earlier generations. Longer life spans might also mean that people are less likely to want to remain in an unhappy marriage.

Divorce at any age can involve a difficult division of assets, but divorce involving significant assets may be particularly prevalent among older adults. With a lifetime to acquire investments, property and money, they might be concerned about how to protect themselves financially during a divorce. Even for couples who have not been particularly wealthy throughout their lives, retirement accounts may be valuable and critical to financial security. It might be possible for couples to negotiate a fair agreement instead of turning to litigation.

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