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Divorce increasing among Washington baby boomers

Washington baby boomers, and boomers nationwide, are bucking the recent trend toward decreasing divorce and dissolution. Recently released U.S. Census data show that baby boomers, as a single demographic group, are divorcing more often than ever.

Experts maintain that marriage has changed since 50-somethings took their vows. Citing a decrease in social pressure to remain married, experts say one factor might be that currently there is a strong emphasis on achieving happiness as an individual.

Also, women are more independent financially than they were in earlier decades.

The Census data indicates that 25 percent of all divorces in the United States are happening in baby boomer marriages. Two decades ago, the rate for the same group was half what it is now.

Married baby boomers who are considering dissolution or divorce may face complex issues related to the division of assets, child support and spousal support. Baby boomers who married early in life have, at this point, been together for decades.

Washington state law provides that property owned by either party in a marriage is usually considered community property in a divorce and thus will be reviewed by the court. Equitable distribution of marital property, especially for couples who have been together for a long time, can be very complicated.

Couples who can work together to reach an agreement regarding property distribution might be able to resolve issues prior to a court hearing. The individual interests at stake in every dissolution are unique and the people involved need to determine what their goals are in the distribution of marital property.

Divorcing couples might also work together on the issue of spousal support. Particularly in couples who have a long history together, spousal support can be a tough issue. Washington courts have a great deal of discretion in determining spousal support, considering factors such as property distribution, prior standard of living, length of time married among others.

Source: WTXL TV, "Study: Baby Boomers have high divorce rates," April 25, 2012

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