California Divorce and Older Couples

In Orange County, and elsewhere across Southern California, it is a well-known statistic that half of all marriages eventually end in divorce. A recent article in the Sacramento Bee, however, documents what the paper says is an emerging trend: divorce among long-married couples.

Of course, California divorces among couples who have been married for many years are not so unusual that they would merit news coverage in and of themselves. Be it in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino County or Ventura County, we have all heard stories of couples who broke up after 15, 20 or more years of marriage. According to the Bee, however, divorce among older, baby-boom era, couples has been rising even as it falls among the adult population at large.

“For the most part, it’s older boomers who are keeping divorce alive, even while divorce rates are declining for those born in the early 1960s or later,” the paper notes (“baby boomers” are traditionally defined as Americans born between 1946 and 1963 or 1964).

The trick is that this evidence is mainly anecdotal. According to the Bee, the Census Bureau reports that 25% of all divorces granted in 2008 involved couples married longer than two decades. The bureau, however, only began collecting such data a few years ago, so a real “gray divorce” trend may be hard to document. At the state level we see the opposite problem: California “stopped collecting statewide divorce data in the late 1990s,” the paper says. Most of the information cited by the paper comes from therapists and family law attorneys who, the paper says, are convinced a California gray divorce trend exists because they “report seeing more and more baby boomers in their offices.”

Every Orange County divorce is unique, but it is probably fair to say that the break-up of a marriage of many, many years is apt to present a set of challenges a younger couple might not face. Situations like these require an experienced Orange County divorce lawyer – an attorney who is both skilled in the essentials of California family law and who has the patience and sensitivity to take the lead in unraveling the affairs of two people whose lives have been intertwined for decades. The complexities often involved in crafting a settlement for a client who has been married for a very long time can involve especially challenging legal situations. Should your own Orange County marriage reach its end, you owe it to yourself to work with an Orange County divorce and family law attorney with experience in divorce cases involving long-married couples .

Sacramento Bee: Baby boomers lead new wave of ‘gray divorce’