People get divorced at all ages. Some are young couples who have only been married for a few years or even a few months. Others are older couples who have been married for decades and are finally deciding to end that marriage. Many others fall somewhere in between on the spectrum, Perhaps getting divorced after the infamous seven-year itch.
The one thing that you can point to definitively is the fact that gray divorce is the only type of divorce that is becoming more common. For those in their 50s and above, the divorce rate continues to rise. For everyone else, the divorce rate is going down. This is important to note because those who are getting a gray divorce may have a very different focus than those getting divorced at younger ages.
First of all, a couple who has been together for so long likely has significant assets that they have to divide. They may be business owners or they may have retirement benefits. The focus of the divorce is more on the financial split, dividing the items that they own. Younger couples may be more concerned with child custody, but a lot of gray divorces happen after the children have already moved out of the house.
As noted above, retirement may come into this picture. People may need to find ways to use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to split up a pension plan or a retirement fund, for example. They’re also very concerned with getting a fair split of the assets that they own because they don’t want to find that they are unable to retire after the divorce.
A gray divorce can also impact estate planning. People may already have made a will, a trust, a medical directive and all sorts of other estate planning documents. They could have a life insurance policy that names their spouse as the beneficiary. If the marriage ends, all of this has to be updated, both because the assets that they own have changed and because their relationship status has changed.
Exploring your options
If you’re going through a gray divorce right now, you can see how important it is to understand each step that you’ll need to take and how to fight for your rights during this time.