What Pennsylvania boomers need to know about divorce

Divorce rates across the country are stabilizing, but an interesting trend is emerging. Of the couples that are seeking divorce in the United States, more and more are over the age of 50. In 1990, less than one in ten divorcing couples was over the age of 50 - in 2009, that figure jumped to one in four.

This new trend was discovered in a study conducted by researchers out of Bowling Green State University in Ohio. The group found that the overall divorce rate for baby boomers had doubled over the last two decades, but was hesitant to name a primary cause. The researchers noted that one potential reason for the increase is the fact that this generation is less likely to remain in an unhappy union than previous generations. Regardless of the reason, it appears the trend will continue in coming years.

Special considerations for divorcing boomers

Dr. Susan Brown, a sociology professor and co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research within Bowling Green State University, led the study. She stated one area of particular concern for boomers was insurance, finding that single boomers were less likely to have health insurance then their married peers.

As a result, those going through a divorce should review their insurance policies. Many people receive insurance benefits through a spouse's employer. If these benefits end with divorce it is wise to find coverage through another provider.

Boomers should also take a moment to review retirement savings. The money put aside during the course of a marriage to fund retirement for one couple must now be split to fund the golden years for two individuals. Instead of paying one mortgage, one set of utilities bills and so forth, each individual will pay his or her own expenses. This could translate into longer years in the workforce. As a result, it is wise to see a financial planner to determine if retirement needs to be pushed back and provide insight, along with a divorce lawyer, on what split of assets is best.

Divorce in Pennsylvania

In addition to taking special considerations for how old the individuals divorcing are, couples should also review state law. In Pennsylvania, divorce is granted on either a fault or no-fault basis. According to the Pennsylvania State Bar Association, a group of legal professionals, a fault divorce is obtained when two things are proven:

  • The person filing is an innocent and injured party, not at fault; and
  • Misconduct by the other spouse led to the breakdown of the marriage

Some examples that may lead to fault divorce in Pennsylvania include violence, bigamy, adultery and conviction of a crime.

If you are considering filing for a divorce, it is wise to contact an experienced Pennsylvania divorce lawyer to discuss your situation and better ensure your legal rights are protected.