The generation leading the revolution in divorce is, of course, Gen X. The biggest change is that there is a generation of people getting a divorce who were more or less equals in parenting and in work. Baby boomers talked about it, but when the women went to work, they did all the housework and childcare as well. Not as true with Gen X.
Don’t get me wrong – women still do more than their male counterparts — for example, even women who have stay-at-home husbands are more involved in parenting than men who have stay-at-home wives. But Gen X men have been more involved in parenting than any generation before. And Gen X women have done a better job of mixing high-powered careers and family than anyone else.
There is another trend here as well: Gen X is much more family-focused than previous generations. Baby boomers talk about putting kids before work, but Gen X actually does it. For example, even with full-time jobs outside the home, Gen X spends more time playing with their kids than housewives did in the 1950s. (I can’t remember where I read this. I think it’s from Sylvia Hewlett.)
The result is a new sort of divorce, especially in the case where the woman earns more than the man. The woman cannot stop working. We already know the laws require the breadwinner before the divorce to continue to be the breadwinner. But when the difference between breadwinner and caretaker are not as clear cut, it’s not so clear where the kids should live. Read more