How is a Gray Divorce Unique?
According to nationwide statistics, the average person getting their first divorce is 30 years old, and the average length of a marriage in the United States is only eight years. While these statistics seem to suggest that only the young are divorcing, the truth is that gray divorce is on the rise around the country.
Gray divorce is a pop-culture term for when a couple over the age of 50 divorces. The cause of this noticeable increase of divorces later in life is not entirely known. It could be due to more people finding financial stability in recent years, which would allow them to more comfortably end their marriage without fear of ending up in poverty. An increase in second and third marriages – which are much more likely to end in divorce than a first marriage – may also explain the rise. Regardless as to why more people are getting divorced later in life, the complications that can come with it are unchanged.
If you are going through a divorce after age 50, be sure to pay special attention to:
- Property division: The longer a marriage lasted, the more assets the couple will accrue together – at least, this is true in most cases. A gray divorce can unexpectedly become a complex or high-net worth divorce simply due to the amount of property the couple shares.
- Retirement plans: Many couples going through a gray divorce also forget to consider their own retirement benefits or plans, including social security. This represents a major source of finances for many older individuals, and dividing it, or fighting to not divide it, can become a source of contention.
- Health and life insurance policies: Deciding what to do with life insurance policies in a gray divorce can be noticeably complicated since such policies may increase in value as years go on. It is also crucial for divorcing couples in their golden years to consider health insurance benefits that may be revoked once the gray divorce is finalized. For this reason, some people may choose to go through a legal separation instead.
- Clarity of mind: Any sort of legal contract can be called into question if there is any reason to believe that it was made or signed while one of the interested parties was unable to understand its language or impact. If someone going through a gray divorce has had experiences with memory loss or difficulties, special legal counsel may be necessary as the case progresses to ensure they know what is happening in their divorce.