Couples filing for divorce later in life face a unique set of challenges. Decades of marriage mean decades of intertwining assets, plans, and complex emotions to tease out in divorce proceedings.
Unique issues impacting a gray divorce include retirement asset division, insurance, social security benefits, spousal support, real estate, and estate planning. Fortunately, a divorce attorney with experience helping clients navigate the unique complexities of gray divorce can ease the transition into your next phase of life.
Why Is “Gray Divorce” On The Rise?
The term “gray divorce” refers to divorces after the age of 50 or divorces that occur after 20 or more years of marriage. The reasons for this rising trend include the following economic and social factors:
- Women are earning more independent income than ever before. Splitting one income was once a common barrier to divorce, but the financial stability of more than one income can reveal a more straightforward path out of a declining partnership.
- Many gray divorcees are empty nesters. Children leaving home can prompt reflection about your life’s priorities.
- Divorce does not carry the social stigma it once did, further minimizing barriers to ending your marriage.
- As life expectancy increases, the prospect of decades with an incompatible spouse can loom.
Intertwined Assets, Future Plans, and Complex Emotions
Many individuals divorcing later in life are past working age or are close to retirement. Individuals in their 50s, 60s and 70s may be unable to compensate for lost income by entering the workforce, resulting in a need for the higher-earning spouse to pay spousal support.
While equitable asset and debt distribution is a goal of every divorce, an awareness of retirement asset distribution is particularly relevant in gray divorces. Consultation with your lawyer and other financial experts can help you minimize taxes and expand your financial options.
The age of your children may exclude you and your spouse from child custody considerations, but the emotional well-being of your older children should still be considered in this process. Depending on the circumstances, family counseling sessions may help minimize the negative emotional impact of the divorce.
Regardless of your age or years of marriage, contact an experienced divorce attorney today to ensure your future is secure.