What Makes a Gray Divorce Different?

Many people get married for the wrong reasons. Maybe they were young and wanted companionship. Perhaps they married for money and found out that they are incompatible with their spouse.

Sometimes people change as they get older. The children are gone and they are no longer content living with their spouse. Suddenly they realize that they are no longer satisfied with their marriage.

Couples who divorce at a younger age find it easier to move on. Their divorce may have been costly, but they still have 30 or 40 years to work and earn more money. This isn’t the case with couples going through gray divorces.

Gray divorces occur after a person turns 50. In the past, getting divorced after 50 was unheard of. It has now become a trend. In fact, the divorce rate for those age 50 and older has doubled since 1990.

At age 50, people have dreams of retirement. For many, those dreams have been replaced with thoughts of divorce. While divorce is no walk in the park at any age, it’s even more difficult as you approach retirement.

What to Expect

One of the biggest things that will be affected by a gray divorce is retirement. As you get older, you have less time to save up for retirement. If you are getting ready to retire, you will likely need to postpone it. If you already are retired, you may need to go back into the workforce. That’s because in a divorce, your assets will be split to fund two households instead of one.

A divorce may change your lifestyle. To make ends meet, you may need to downsize. Instead of your fancy four-bedroom home, you may need to consider a more affordable studio apartment for the time being.

Divorces are also more complicated as you get older. You’ve had much more time to accumulate assets than a couple who was married only several years. Asset division can take some time to finalize, and time equals money.

As people age and develop health problems, medical insurance becomes a primary concern. One spouse may not be able to afford it, so the other spouse agrees to pay for it. In some cases, couples live apart but stay legally married solely for health insurance benefits.

Making matters worse is that alimony can still come into play. If you were the higher wage earner, you may now be making monthly alimony payments to your ex-spouse for the rest of your life.

Reach Out to a Talented Lakewood Divorce Lawyer

Nobody expects to get divorced in their retirement years, but it’s becoming more common as people focus on their happiness and how they can live the best life possible. If you’re considering divorce in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond, the Denver divorce attorneys at Divorce Matters can help you through the process. It will be challenging, but we can help you make the best of the situation. Contact us at (720) 408-7469 to schedule your consultation.

What’s Causing The Increase In Gray Divorce?

The winter weather isn’t the only thing that’s gray in the country ”“ according to studies, divorce for people over 55 has been steadily increasing over the few decades. “Gray divorce,” as senior divorce is sometimes called, doubled among people aged 55 to 64 from 1990 to 2012. In that same time, the rate tripled for people 65 and older. What’s going on? Why are so many senior couples deciding to call it quits?

One theory says that gray divorce is on the rise because society no longer views divorce as the taboo subject it once was. It’s common to hear that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce (though the number has not been that high for a long time), so perhaps societal views have taken an “everyone’s doing it” tone that makes couples more willing to divorce.

Another possible reason: keeping it together for the kids. Some people decide to stay married until the children are out of the house, and by the time the children are out living on their own, the parents are approaching that age where gray divorce is a possibility.

Preparing For Gray Divorce

Couples who divorce young have an easier time rebuilding their finances than those who divorce as seniors. Seniors often don’t have very many working years left to recoup. Here are just a few tips to help soften the financial blow of gray divorce:

  1. Know the tax implications of your divorce settlement. Try to avoid tax penalties and look into a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to help protect your retirement funds from taxes if and when they are divided.
  2. Manage your savings. Look into your 401(k) or IRA and have realistic expectations of your budget moving forward.
  3.  If you were married for over 10 years, you are eligible for spousal benefits through the Social Security Administration. This can be especially helpful if one party in the marriage did not work as much as the other.

If you are seeking the services of a Colorado divorce attorney familiar with the nuances of senior divorce, our law firm can help.

Is Gray Divorce More Expensive?

The divorce rate for couples over the age of 50 has been rising steadily since 1990. Now, almost 25 percent of divorces involve at least one party over 50. These are known colloquially as “gray divorces.” Why are gray divorce rates increasing? Several reasons have been proposed. Longer lifespans, more women in the workforce and changing ideas about the purpose and meaning of marriage are all contributors to rising gray divorce rates.

It’s no secret that divorce is expensive ”“ but you’d think that older people who have had time to amass wealth would be less vulnerable to the financial hit. Current research, however, suggests otherwise.

Gray divorce leaves less time for divorcees to recover. Things like remaining work years, complex commingled assets as well as issues of estate planning and adult children can all make it difficult for people over 50 to weather the financial storm of divorce.

Ensuring Your Retirement After Gray Divorce

Here are some considerations to make to ensure that gray divorce does not ruin your retirement.

  1. Don’t go it alone. There are many professionals out there that are ready and willing to help you make this transition smoothly. Seek out a divorce attorney, financial planner or accountant to help clarify your exact wealth and assets.
  2. Consider downsizing your real estate. Sometimes, it is prudent to sell the marital home for something smaller and more suited to your needs.
  3. If you were married for over 10 years, don’t forget that you are entitled to spousal Social Security benefits.
  4. Don’t forget about your health. Healthcare costs in retirement can be expensive, and you will likely need to adjust your health insurance as a result of divorce.

If you are concerned about finances following a divorce after 50, discuss your concerns with a Denver divorce attorney.