A gray divorce refers to a divorce involving a couple where both parties are over 50 and they do not have any minor children. The divorce rate for this demographic has doubled in the last three decades, more than almost any other demographic.
There may be many reasons for this—longer lifespans, divorce becoming less taboo, etc. But whatever the reason, gray divorces are on the rise.
These divorces tend to be longer marriages—but not always. The focus of these cases is on dividing the parties’ property and ending the marriage.
What makes a gray divorce unique is that the property division often involves much more long-term assets and is being done with an eye toward retirement. At the time of the divorce, both parties are likely considering what they need to do to be able to retire.
This may require looking into how you will have health insurance until you are Medicare eligible, and what you might be receiving in Social Security now that you are getting divorced.
Gray divorces are also more likely to feature spousal maintenance as an issue. In the case of a long marriage, the parties are likely going to split everything they own, including retirement assets. So they could be in very similar place financially.
If they are both retired and each receiving the same amount of assets built over a longterm marriage, then spousal maintenance becomes less likely. But if they are in their fifties, and one of them earns significantly more than the other, spousal maintenance is likely to be an issue. And if lesser-earning spouse needs time to become self-sustaining, an award of spousal maintenance becomes much more likely.
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