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Divorce in Different Generations: How Boomers Handle It


People of all ages and backgrounds can be impacted by divorce, and it's no surprise that people in various stages of life have different priorities when it comes to divorce.

Baby boomers are growing older and approaching retirement, so their concerns during divorce morph from things like child custody to retirement and money.

According to a report from The Globe Gazette in Iowa, baby boomers face a variety of concerns when it comes to filing for divorce that differ from people in generations X and Y.

Baby boomers consider issues like Social Security benefits, retirement savings and pensions; while younger divorcees tend to focus their energies on child custody, visitation and support.

The baby boomer focus on money can be explained by work distribution during their prime career years.

For example, women who acted as primary childcare givers may have sacrificed a career outside of the house to do so. In such instances, spousal support becomes a primary concern.

“Spousal support, or alimony, can be ordered in perpetuity, or judges may grant rehabilitative support — which requires a spouse to pay for a term of time until the other spouse has trained into a career or job that would support them,” The Globe Gazette reported.

Debt is another consideration that baby boomer divorcees must often take into account. According to Mason City, Iowa divorce attorney Rich Piscopo, couples filing for divorce often overlook the role that debt plays in the division of assets and property, and that debt is as important to think about as property or assets.

Piscopo noted that couples are often surprised to learn about the important role debt can play in a divorce, especially as it applies to property ownership. Property ownership in a divorce often includes the associated debt. According to Piscopo, “debt is a huge, huge issue.”

The division of property in a baby boomer divorce can be a moment of serious realization for couples who must confront things like complicated credit card debt, lack of savings or lots of payments – even if they had appeared to maintain a prosperous or luxurious lifestyle.

Piscopo went on to describe the nature of most of the divorces he sees, claiming that many are amicable, and that the spouses have long decided on the route that they want to take.

Such a calm characterization of divorce would suggest that the media-fueled depiction of high-profile, acrimonious divorces may not be representative, at least in Iowa. This characterization by Piscopo applies, he said, to couples of every age group.

The Globe Gazette report went on to note that divorce is still a concern among younger, non-baby boomer generations, but that issues such as child support and custody increasingly involve couples who are not married, according to Mason City divorce attorney Kim Snitker.

Contributors to the report also noted that baby boomers, anecdotally, tend to be “more measured in their negotiations,” and that, in Piscopo’s case, more men call him about filing for divorce than women.

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