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Later Life Divorces: The Who, Why, and What to Do

Later life divorce, also known as “gray divorce”, describes a couple over the age of 50 splitting after a longterm marriage. This phenomenon has increased over the last 30 years, and it has become an increasingly common occurrence. This blog will discuss the causes and impacts of gray divorce, as well as provide suggestions for those who are experiencing it.

Causes of Later Life Divorce

There are several reasons why couples over 50 decide to divorce.

  • They grew apart, often after their children moved out of the house. This can create a feeling of emptiness and a lack of purpose in the marriage.
  • Women’s empowerment has led to more financial independence.  Today, women have more professional opportunities and are better able to support themselves financially. This makes divorce for those in a long-term, unhappy marriage more accessible.
  • Heath issues that impact one partner and leaving the other to wonder if they will be a long term caregiver and ultimately leave the relationship.
  • Infidelity and addictions are other reasons that can lead to gray divorce.

Impacts of Later Life Divorce

Gray divorce can have a significant impact on both the couple and their established family.

  • One of the most significant impacts is an increased chance of dividing the family. Children and grandchildren may be caught in the middle and can suffer emotionally from the separation.
  • Assets are often more intertwined after a long-term marriage, making them harder to divide. This can result in prolonged legal battles, which can be costly and emotionally draining.
  • Spousal support for the higher earner may be higher each month and pay out over a longer term than with younger couples seeking divorce.
  • Retirements accounts are often subject to division with less time to recuperate the funds needed to comfortably retire.

What to Do

If you are experiencing grey divorce, it is important to

  • Find a support network. This can include friends, family, or support groups specifically designed for those going through a late-life divorce.
  • Speaking to a therapist can also be helpful in managing emotions and creating a plan for moving forward.
  • Work with a family law attorney you trust, specifically one experienced with complex asset division. They can guide you through the legal process and help ensure you receive a fair settlement.

In conclusion, gray divorce is becoming increasingly common, and it can have significant impacts on both the couple and their family. Understanding the causes and impacts of gray divorce can help individuals navigate this difficult time. Seeking support from friends, family, and professionals, such as therapists and experienced attorneys, can make the process less daunting and help individuals move forward with their lives. Schedule a consultation with us if you plan to embark on or are in the midst of a later life divorce.