How is a gray divorce different than one earlier in life?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

A gray divorce is one that involves people who are over 50 years old. While it may seem like those who have been married for many years aren’t likely going to split up, the rate of gray divorce is on the rise

For those who are considering a divorce at this stage, there are considerations present that younger people may not have to think about. Understanding these may help individuals to prepare for the end of their marriage. 

Property division considerations

People who are going through a gray divorce likely have amassed considerable assets, all of which must be divided. The retirement accounts are one particular asset that can be difficult to split. Ensuring this is handled properly through qualified domestic relations orders and transfers incident to divorce may help to save money on penalties. 

Additionally, they have to determine what will happen to the marital home, which might be the largest asset. They may have to sell the home and split the profit so they can each find their own home, but it’s also possible for one spouse to buy the other’s share out. 

Making ends meet

Because there might not be enough in the retirement accounts to fully support two homes, people who go through a gray divorce may have to return to the workforce. This can be challenging, especially if they have a robust retirement lifestyle. 

Ultimately, anyone going through a gray divorce has to ensure they’re taking care of themselves. While their spouse may have helped to protect their interests during the marriage, they can’t count on that any longer. Working with someone familiar with gray divorces may help them to get the best outcome possible.  

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