After 15, 20 or more years of marriage you might think a couple would stay together. Forever. But not so much. In fact, quite the opposite. Baby boomers are divorcing in huge numbers. The divorce rate for 55-64 year-olds more than doubled from 1990 to 2012, and divorces for over 65 yrs-old tripled. You read that right.
Why is there a spike in moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas divorcing? There are many reasons, but they often boil down to basics. Once kids are grown and gone, mom and dad come to the conclusion they just don’t have much in common anymore. Also, when boomers look ahead to their futures spouses don’t necessarily want the same things. We often hear one spouse say “I assume we’d both stop working and retire” while the other spouse says “I don’t want to retire, I want to keep working, I love my work.”
Also, women frequently want to be actively connected with their children and grandchildren, so wish to live geographically close to their kids. Dads on the other hand don’t find this critically important, and prefer to travel frequently or move to a different part of the country or even outside the US.
Remember, it is now common to live to age 90, maybe beyond. We hear from boomer clients that they simply refuse to live that length of time–20, 30 or more years–in the same way their spouse wishes to live. Irreconcilable differences.
And don’t think it’s just rich boomers divorcing. We hear in the media about divorces of the rich and famous, including hedge fund billionaires Ken Griffin, Bill Ackman and David Einhorn, each of whom divorced after more than 20 years of marriage. But you need not be a billionaire boomer to be divorcing these days. Everyone from teachers, cops and firefighters to doctors, lawyers and accountants are divorcing and moving on to new lives. Which, considering a life span of many decades to follow, may include a new marriage lasting even longer than their prior marriage.
In the ‘olden days’ (which basically means all days before today!) custody cases were limited to children–as in, human children. But these days far fewer couples have kids while more and more couples have pets. Dogs and cats have become children for millions of couples. And when ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ break up and file for divorce, custody is not about who gets Susie or Jack but about who gets Fido and Fluffy. Pet custody is no longer an oddity dealt with only in Hollywood divorces but a common occurrence. Welcome to the New Normal.
It’s estimated that 80 million US households have dogs and 96 million households have cats. And since about 1 million couples divorce every year, it was bound to happen that a new law (Alaska) would require divorce judges to consider the well-being of pets in deciding which spouse gets custody.
Whether you think this is nuts or normal may depend on whether you’re a dog or cat person or have been through a divorce or custody case. In any event, laws demanding that judges consider the best interests of our furry friends is a sign of the times and believe it or not, are likely to become law in all states across the US.
Nuts or normal? What do you think??
Divorce Filings Spike 30% After The Holidays