Divorcing later in life, known as “gray divorce”, is on the rise. According to Pew Research, the divorce rate among American adults age 50 and over has almost doubled since the 1990s. Divorcing after the age of 50 presents unique challenges for older couples as they have often been married for a long period of time. Navigating the divorce process can be overwhelming but there are steps you can take to make the process more manageable.
Many older adults—whether they are married or not—are financially vulnerable. Divorcing later in life can really add to the financial burdens of growing older. Assets such as pensions, retirement accounts, real estate, and other property will be divided. Instead of making one mortgage or rent payment for the couple, now each spouse must pay for their individual housing costs. Working with a family law attorney who has an understanding of the unique challenges of a gray divorce can help ensure that you are financially secure and that you receive a fair divorce settlement.
After building a life together and perhaps raising children, couples over 50 who choose to divorce may be unprepared for the emotional impact of this change. Starting over as a single person can be daunting and having shared friends with your ex can only complicate matters. Surround yourself with people you know and trust who will support you emotionally during this time. Self-care, well-being, and prioritizing your mental health are very important. Join a support group or speak with a therapist as you work through this new transition in life.
If you are considering a divorce later in life, take time to assess your financial situation and think about your lifestyle. Aging presents challenges and so does a divorce; by preparing for these life changes, you can position yourself for a financially secure and rewarding new chapter.