Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Divorce Generation

Now here's an interesting read, the cover story from the April 21 edition of Newsweek: The Divorce Generation Grows Up ("The Divorce Generation Grows Up - Grant High School's class of '82 were raised on 'The Brady Bunch'—while their own families were falling apart. These are their stories—in their words").

As I was born in 1965, right on the line between the Baby Boom Generation and Generation X, I sometimes don't know to what generation I should say I belong. I have characteristics of both Boomers and Xers.

The author, David J. Jefferson, just a few years older than I, has described us 40-something-year-olds, who grew up watching the Brady Bunch, as the "divorce generation." Maybe that will do, although I don't particularly like the term, and I sincerely hope that this author has exaggerated the impact of divorce on my "generation."

But I can certainly relate to the stories told by the author's classmates, as I graduated from high school just one year later than they did, in the early 80s, when the divorce rate in this country was at its highest point. Many of these stories sound all too familiar to me, as they resemble so many stories of others my age.

Since the early 80s, the divorce rate has fallen. And as this article indicates, as we now-40-something-year-olds of the "divorce generation" have grown up, the national divorce rate has fallen, though not back down to the very low level of the 50s and 60s. The relatively lower rate of today may have a lot to do with the fact that we of the "divorce generation" have been more reluctant to make commitments, and more hesitant to marry, and as a group have been waiting until later to do so.

The author of this article indeed suggests that our hesitancy may be partly a consequence of having grown up in the period, from the late 60s through the early 80s, when marriages were becoming so much more vulnerable to termination by divorce. More than just an interesting footnote to The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, this feature story should be but one of many studies and musings on this topic that I suspect, and hope, will follow in the years to come.

For information about Massachusetts divorce and family law, see the divorce and family law page of my law firm website.

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