“Gray” Divorces

Some statistics show that since 1990, the divorce rate for Americans over 50 years old has doubled and more than doubled for those over 65 years old. More than 50 percent of all “gray” divorces are between couples who are in their first marriage and who had been married for over 20 years.

The cause for dissolution in many of those marriages is due to the fact that the couple has grown apart, not due to grounds of adultery or cruel treatment. However, sometimes after the couple’s remaining child has married or is out of college, people see their “job” as done and no longer want to live with an abusive spouse or a spouse who has addictions and is unwilling to acknowledge or seek treatment for the addiction. Times have changed, and with longer life expectancies and better overall health for individuals over 50, an opportunity for an emotionally healthy lifestyle can be attractive.

Issues arise in a “gray” divorce that are somewhat unique to this age category, such as a close review and assessment of retirement and pension plans, annuities and other investments, social security benefits, life insurance, trusts and estate planning and gifting of property and how these issues affect your future if divorced. It is important to consider if there will be enough income to support yourself and options for health care coverage at a reasonable cost.

Couples considering divorce during this time in their lives should pursue marital counseling to work to reconcile, renew and rebuild their marriage. Parties should explore what changes can be made in their lives to provide for a more fulfilling and rewarding relationship, rescue their marriage and reclaim the vibrant love they once shared. It is never too late. If you have been with your spouse a long time and have raised children together, you need to consider the future you no doubt will share with your spouse or ex-spouse due to graduations, weddings and baptisms.

It is prudent to contact a family law attorney to access or protect your assets and be knowledgeable about the divorce process.