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50-plus-crowd divorces: What can really be said about that?

Actually, and in response to the above-posed headline query in today's blog post, a lot can be said about what researchers in a recent family law-related article term "the so-called gray divorce phenomenon."

And what co-researchers and professors Naomi Cahn and June Carbone (we provided some biographical detail on those individuals in our May 16 blog entry) have to say at the outset of a recently issued study is that "divorce risk is not evenly spread among those 50 and older."

That is interesting to note, given that many reports on 50-plus divorces these days pay quick lip service to the fact that divorce for baby boomers is on the definite upswing and outpacing marital dissolutions for younger couples.

But within the demographic, say Cahn and Carbone (especially for those over 50, with grown kids and married for more than 30 years), there is variance behind what drives divorce in one instance and secures an enduring union in other.

And, empirically speaking, here is one dominant catalyst underlying divorce potential, posed in the form of a rhetorical question: Are you now in a second or subsequent marriage?

If so, say the researchers, the odds of your getting divorced are far higher than for first-time-married couples. And that holds true even if your current marriage is already in its fifth decade or more.

And property ownership (asset accumulation) is a telling factor, note Cahn and Carbone, with their study findings indicating that the more financially secure a couple is, the less likely it will be for them to divorce (there are ready -- and many -- exceptions to that generalized finding, of course).

In light of the property-ownership (or lack thereof) findings, say the researchers, American policy makers focused on American families might reasonably want to strongly promote programs "that enhance economic opportunities throughout the life cycle and lead to the accumulation of assets."

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