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Baby Boomer Divorce is Booming in Florida By Paul E. Rice, Jr., Daytona Beach Divorce Attorney

I’ve been helping divorcing spouses in Daytona Beach and Volusia and Flagler Counties in Florida for over 40 years. As I’ve gotten older so have my clients. So much so that about 10 years ago I started specializing in senior divorce, gray divorce, silver divorce, baby boomer divorce or whatever you want to call this fast growing family law sector.   While the overall divorce rate in the U.S. has trended downward, the rate for aging boomers has skyrocketed. When I first began practicing family law in 1983, it was a rare occasion when a client over age 60 visited my office for a divorce. Today most of my clients are in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I recently handled two different divorces involving spouses who were married 60 years. Yes, married 60 years! I won’t go into “why” in this article, but I can assure you that everybody has their reasons.

While my personal observations and experience with the senior divorce revolution are largely anecdotal, the statistics back me up. According to a study by Bowling Green State University’s National Center for Family and Marriage Research, an analysis of data from 1990 to 2021 found that divorce rates for those age 45 and over rose while the rate for those younger than 45 dropped during that time. The most significant increase in divorce rates was among people over 65. The divorce rate for the Medicare crowd tripled between 1990 and 2021.  According to the Bowling Green researchers, 1 in 4 of all divorces were among people age 65 and older.

With those national divorce statistics as a backdrop, I want to focus on my beloved state of birth, Florida.  Please…no Florida Man jokes. According to U.S. Census Bureau data analyzed by online moving resource, Hire a Helper, more seniors flocked to Florida than any other state in 2023. The latest Census Bureau report shows that a record 21.6% of all Florida residents are over 65. That’s more than 1 in 5 residents.  What does that mean from a practical standpoint? You can’t get into see a doctor for months. There are no early dinner reservations to be had. And, the pickle ball courts are packed.  Given the record number of Florida seniors, it’s no wonder that my waiting room is full of older people. Most of my clients are from somewhere else.  They’ve retired, sold their home in the northeast and moved to Florida. For whatever reason, and there are many, one of the two spouses has decided to go his or her own way.  I call it a “Margaritaville Divorce” because many of these divorcing seniors live in “over 55” communities, which are teaming with their contemporaries.  Maybe the temptation is too great.

The issues confronting older spouses are far different than those of couples in their 30’s and 40’s. Seniors need assistance with social security, pensions, retirement accounts, Medicare and health insurance coverage.  Even though the parties are retired, one of the spouses may be an alimony candidate. Our clients need to decide whether they can afford to keep the marital home or if it must be sold. When I represent older spouses in dissolution of marriage cases, my primary concern is my client’s financial future and security.

If you’re a senior who’s considering a divorce in Volusia, Flagler or east central Florida, make sure you select the best attorney for your situation. The attorney should specialize in divorce and have years of experience.  Do not hire an attorney who handles a wide range of legal areas. Look carefully at the attorney’s credentials. In Florida, the gold standard is whether your prospective attorney is Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by the Florida Bar. Most other credentials are fluff or were paid for.  You should also ask friends, family members and other confidants in your area about good family attorneys. After you’ve got a few names, check out the attorney’s reviews on google and the other attorney directory websites such as lawyers.com. And, finally, meet with the attorney face to face to make sure he or she is a good fit for you.  If you do all of that, chances are you will have found the best divorce attorney for you.