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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.