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  • Allison Roberts

Gray Divorce




Data shows that over the past 30 years, the divorce rate has doubled for Americans over 55. For couples over 65, the rate has tripled. Out of this cultural shift the term “Gray Divorce” is born. Two factors are contributing to gray divorce: the age of marriage and longer

lifespans. First, people are waiting to get married until they are older, shifting the timeline for

when divorce becomes an option. Secondly, people who are remaining healthy longer are not willing to stay and “ride it out” or “suck it up” — they want to live their lives.

 

Typical Financial Implications of Gray Divorce


Re-entry into the Job Market


Financially, divorce is always a significant change but it is especially so for women who have chosen to be out of the recognized work force for a significant amount of time and now need to re-enter the job market to directly contribute to their financial expenses and needs. Of particular importance is the doubling of shelter expenses: it is just more expensive to run two houses than it is to run one house.


This reality is a truth that must be addressed head-on with limited posturing between the parties and instead with a focus on resolution.


Funding College Degrees


The cost of college is also a significant factor to address before a commitment is made to incur

college debt. Financial planners will speak to the fact that you only have so many years to save

and rebuild retirement savings once it has been divided in a divorce, but your children have a

lifetime of earning in front of them to pay off any college debt they may decide to incur. It may

be emotionally difficult for a parent to say, “We cannot be responsible for all of the college

expenses,” and unfortunately it can be used (irresponsibly) to malign the child against a parent,

but financially it is a fair and reasonable position to take especially before those costs are

incurred.

 

The Marital Home


The marital residence typically remains a key factor for couples to start discussions about the

division of assets. The desire to stay in a home after years of investing in the equity of this asset

— both in dollars and with “sweat equity” caring for and maintaining the family haven both inside and out— comes from both emotions and financial considerations. Downsizing can be a very attractive option if approached with the right attitude.

 

If you are considering a divorce in your 50s or later, when the most important issue – custody

and care of the children – may no longer be a major factor, speak to a knowledgeable attorney about the financial decisions of your situation so your expectations are realistic and you can properly plan your next steps. 


We are always available to answer questions you may have about divorce, child custody, mediation, and other matters in family law. Please feel free to reach out to us at 908.237.3098 or use this contact form.


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