Divorce varies considerably from one generation to the next. A typical Baby Boomer dissolution may look little like a separation agreement marking the end of a Millennial pair’s period of cohabitation. Keep reading for an in-depth look at divorce among today’s most influential generations: the Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
Millennials may be less likely to get married, but they’re also less likely to dissolve their marriages. Projecting current statistics, University of Michigan economist Justin Wolfers predicts that two-thirds of today’s marriages will never involve divorce. Purported reasons for low Millennial divorce rates vary, but many credit higher education and increased age at first marriage.
Those who divorce face a variety of unprecedented complications. For example, children from previous relationships complicate custody proceedings, as does property acquired while cohabitating with previous partners. Furthermore, while the divorce rate remains low, most of those who cohabitate (an increasing trend among young couples) eventually split. If children or shared real estate played a role in the cohabitation, former partners may require separation agreements that largely resemble divorce settlements.
More likely than Millennials to currently be homeowners and parents, Gen Xers face issues traditionally assumed part and parcel with divorce: property division, child custody proceedings and child support. Despite the pressures of being sandwiched between children and elderly parents, the members of Gen X remain more determined than ever to avoid the pitfalls of divorce.
Referred to by the Wall Street Journal as “the divorce generation,” Gen X possesses an intimate understanding of the way messy dissolution can shape childhood. Most have succeeded in avoiding a repeat of their parents’ drama-riddled divorces; 70 percent of marriages originating in the 1990s made it to fifteen years, and preliminary research is even more promising for marriages of the early 2000s.
The divorce rate among adults over the age of 50 has doubled since the 1990s, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Experts believe that the unprecedented divorce rate among younger Baby Boomers may have led to today’s marital instability, especially as these divorces involve dissolving second marriages.
With vast property holdings, retirement concerns and kids who have departed the nest, Baby Boomer divorce barely resembles break ups among younger spouses. Later-in-life divorces tend to be messier, but spouses may have the insight and self-control necessary to lead more peaceful dissolution proceedings.