woman going through a gray divorce

What Is a Gray Divorce

In recent years, there has been an increasing number of what has come to be referred to as “gray divorces.” More people are getting divorced later in life. In many cases, these are couples who may have stuck together until their children grew up and went off to college and then, when faced with an empty nest and only each other for company, decided that the time for divorce had arrived. There are, however, many other circumstances involved in gray divorces. Here, we will go into a deeper discussion about gray divorces and some of the unique considerations those going through a divorce in later life should be made aware of.

What Is a Gray Divorce?

Generally speaking, a gray divorce, a divorce happening in the second half of a person’s life, refers to a couple who are divorcing and are about 50 to 55 years or older. More often than not, these are couples who have been married for longer periods of time. They have built up assets together, raised children, and are approaching retirement age. Because of all of this, there are several things that can be particularly unique to gray divorces.

For starters, the division of assets in a gray divorce can look much different than in other divorces. These are couples that have likely been married for a long time and have substantially intertwined assets. Any assets that would be considered separate are likely to be difficult to sort out as they got tangled in with marital assets. Other times, formerly separate assets may have been comingled with marital assets, such as using separate assets to invest in the family business, buy a home, or retitling a separately held home in both spouses’ names. Because of all of this, classifying nonmarital versus marital assets for the purpose of division of the assets can be incredibly complicated.

Division of assets, including retirement benefits, such as pensions, IRAs, and 401(k)s, may not just be complicated, but also hold even greater importance for those in a gray divorce. These are individuals who are nearing retirement age. The financial impact of divorce can be significant at any age, but those in earlier years may have more time to rebuild financially speaking after a divorce. Be careful in a gray divorce that you are protecting your retirement interests. In some cases, retirement may have to be postponed because of the financial impacts of divorce.

Alimony can also be a big issue in a gray divorce as length of the marriage is often a prominent factor in an alimony award. Furthermore, there may have been many professional sacrifices on one spouse or the other spouse’s part throughout the marriage making the need for alimony for financial support after the marriage necessary. For the most part, a spouse’s need for alimony and the other spouse’s ability to pay will play the biggest role in determining whether permanent or durational alimony will be awarded. Furthermore, rehabilitative alimony may be awarded should a spouse need professional development or training in order to reenter the workplace.

Family Law Attorney

Divorce can bring in a new chapter of life no matter what age you may be. At Cohen Family Law, we remain committed to helping our clients set themselves up for a successful and thriving post-divorce life. Contact us today.