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Why is the Ohio baby boomer divorce rate so high?

Baby boomers have been center stage in society since the time many of them reached adulthood. Sheer bulk has something to do with that. More than one in four Americans - 79 million people - is a baby boomer, a generation alternately admired or criticized for contributions or detractions to life as we know it.

Researchers have learned that, while divorce rates among married couples in other generations have declined to about 40 percent, boomer divorces in Columbus and elsewhere have risen to new heights. According to at least one sociology professor and author, boomers' attitudes toward marriage may be unique rather than contagious.

People 50 and older are divorcing in droves, at twice the rate they did two decades ago, according to a recent New York Times article. The rate flies in the face of convention, since marriage failures in the past usually happened prior to the spouses' 10-year wedding anniversary.

The author-sociologist points out baby boomers, the massive post-World War II generation, are often radically different than generations that came before and after them. Swift, dramatic shifts in laws and attitudes occurred during the adolescence and young adulthood of boomers - civil and women's rights, war protests and relationship boundaries.

Boomer attitudes about sex, work, marital responsibilities and equality were foreign to previous generations. The author feels many greying boomers, now pushing or into retirement, are still the social game-changers that they've always been.

Conversely, generations that followed seem somewhat conservative. Younger people are waiting to marry. Some have felt effects of their parents' divorces, received advanced educations and established careers. Attorneys, among others, are watching to see if delayed marriages curb a high future divorce rate.

Late-age divorces are complex. Often, decades of accumulated assets must be divided. Ohio spouses of any age are advised to play close attention to finances during divorce proceedings, so future stability is not hampered by present choices.

Source:, "Why are baby boomers so divorce-prone?" Pepper Schwartz, Dec. 09, 2013

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