A divorce is hard at any time in your life, but a gray divorce can be one of the most difficult. People who have been married for many years and who go through gray divorces could have complex situations that require significant legal knowledge and know how.
While it’s not particularly common, even people in their 80s get divorced. After 40, 50 or even 60 years together, a marriage could finally reach its end. If you’ve been married for decades, the idea of starting over at that point might be terrifying, but if you’re truly unhappy, it makes sense.
Divorces among senior citizens are becoming more common as the stigma surrounding divorce dissipates. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for those 50 or older in the United States has nearly doubled since the 1990s. Why do these older couples separate? Simply put, many people entering retirement just don’t want to spend it being unhappy. Some find that their spouses don’t want to have the same kind of retirement as them or no longer share interests. In those cases, they feel it’s time to move on.
Gray divorces rarely involve children or custody issues, so it’s easier to separate. Couples need to divide assets and may have complex portfolios to review, but the truth is that much of the separation is easier to work through because only these two people are involved.
A gray divorce can lead to a big adjustment for people, like having to learn to live alone, or not rely on the other spouse to fix problems around the house or bring in an income. Fortunately, gray divorces often involve retirees who have fixed incomes or the means to get additional help when it’s needed.
Divorce later in life won’t always be less frustrating or difficult to deal with, and there can still be legal implications that you’ll need to consider. Taxes, retirement accounts, pensions and many other factors could play a role in your divorce. If you’re older and planning a divorce, you may want to work with several professionals, such as your attorney, a forensic accountant and a mediator, for example, to make sure that you get everything you need to continue living life the way you have in your retirement previously.
If you plan to go through a gray divorce, you’re not alone. It’s never too late to start over and have a different future.