"Gray divorce" is the term given to the rising trend of divorces occurring later in life for many couples. Over the last few years, our divorce attorneys have seen an increased number of older and elderly couples filing to dissolve their marriage—even into their 60’s and beyond. While these divorces can ultimately improve the lives of each spouse, they do come with inherent challenges that must be confronted across the negotiating table or in the courtroom.
How Gray Divorce Is Different
Essentially, a "gray divorce" goes through the same process as any other divorce involving a younger couple. However, due the different circumstances of an older couple, different assets and considerations must be parsed before the marriage can be dissolved.
A "gray divorce" will commonly involve:
Retirement funds and pensions – given the age of the parties these funds may be the most, or one of the most, significant assets in a gray divorce. Division of these assets at this life stage may have a profound impact of the lifestyle of each party post-divorce.
Social Security benefits – these benefits will also be valuable to the parties as they reach retirement age and may play a significant role in planning for each parties’ financial life after divorce.
Estate Plans and Trusts – even carefully constructed estate plans may be impacted by a divorce later in life, and may require significant alteration when the parties decide to end their marriage.
Greater health considerations – careful planning is required when negotiating a divorce settlement. Health considerations which may not be an issue for most younger couples often become significant issues in planning for life post-divorce at a later stage in life.
Greater alimony considerations – a spouse who has been out of the work force for a significant amount of time may find it difficult or impossible to support themselves alone later in life, particularly if heath considerations are an issue. Alimony, perhaps even permanent alimony, is likely to be a more significant issue in these cases than in divorces involving younger couples.
Any or all of these factors can be key to establishing fair and accommodating post-marriage arrangements in a gray divorce. It is critically important that all of these issues be examined and identified so that, with proper planning, older couples choosing to end their marriage can look forward to a life of independence and security.
To find out more about what our firm can do for you if you are considering divorce later in life, please fill out our online form to request a consultation today.