A gray divorce is one that occurs between individuals whose lives have progressed. This Colorado Springs family law blog recently introduced the topic of gray divorce, but readers may be surprised by how common these marital dissolutions have become. According to a study by Bowling Green State University, gray divorces have doubled for individuals over 50 from 1990 to 2000.
The most salient issue that confronts a gray divorcee is money. There are several ways that the financial blow of a divorce can adversely affect a gray divorcee. This is either through the necessity of the divorcee to work after decades of removal from the workforce or through the necessity of the divorcee to share their retirement investments and income with a long-term spouse, who will no longer see them to the end of their life.
It can be next to impossible for two people to hold down two separate households on the income that only one of them earns. And, as is possible in all divorces, one party to a gray divorce may be required to provide the other with spousal support or alimony to keep that individual solvent, following the end of the marriage. It is also common for gray divorces to occur between individuals who have apparently ended their careers. Through the dissolution of their marriages, they may find themselves in need of going back to work to reestablish their financial stability.
A later-in-life divorce can put many pressures on the parties to address other legal matters as well. As married people often name each other as beneficiaries in the testamentary documents, life insurance policies, investment holdings and others, it can be disastrous for a gray divorcee to end their marriage, but forget to remove their ex-spouse from those financial assets. These and other money-related issues can be reviewed with family law attorneys who are available to work with gray divorcees on the dissolutions of their marriages.
Source: Charlotte Business Journal, "When boomers divorce - what are the financial implications," Elizabeth Hodges, May 8, 2017