Watch CBS News

Empty Nest Divorce Rate Rising

MIAMI (CBS4) - Debbie Jenkins thought she'd be married forever.  But it wasn't meant to be.

"I had my family and my children to help me through it," she said.

The 52-year-old mother divorced her husband after two decades of marriage.

"Emotionally, physically we just couldn't relate to each other anymore," explained Jenkins.

"We have to accept things as they are, not as you wish them to be," insisted fifty something Thatia Cuchera. She ended her marriage last year.

"I decided to take the risk on myself and take a chance on myself," Cuchera said.

These women have plenty of company.  Since 1990 the divorce rate has doubled to 1 in 4 for couples over age 50. And researchers found after age 40 it's often the wife who wants the divorce.

"People are no longer willing to compromise to live an unhappy life just for the sake of a marriage," said divorce attorney Barry Wineberger. He also explained how important longevity is to this trend. "We are all living longer.  Spending four decades, five decades, six decades with the same person is becoming more difficult."

Rachel Sussmen counsels couples and says there are other reasons. "Women in their 40's and 50's and 60's feel very youthful, And if you're in a marriage that your needs aren't being met we have choices today."

Researchers found this generation of women has more financial independence.  And baby boomers put an emphasis on individual happiness.

Should you live 2 people unhappily or as roommates under the same roof? Why should you have to live that way?

Financial adviser Jeff Landers cautioned that splitting up later in life can be complicated.

"With timing, issues become very, very critically important, because people who are in their fifties or maybe early sixties when timing is right around the corner," said Landers.

But for these new divorce's, it's time to enjoy their independence

"I was there to take care of everybody's needs and I just feel like it's my time now."

What  really has changed is what's inside of me and I feel so much more confident and so much more sure of myself."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.