A gray divorce is a divorce that occurs later in life. It is often defined as involving those who are over 50 years old. This general term encompassing has seen more use in recent years because the divorce rate for older couples has been going up.
In some senses, a gray divorce may be simpler than divorce at a younger age. But there are other ways in which it could be much more complex and challenging. It’s important for those who are considering divorcing later in life to consider both sides so that they can craft more informed approaches.
How it may be simpler
The average age at which people have their first child in the United States is now 30 years old. If a couple has two children, roughly two years apart, this means that those children would be adults or very close to becoming adults by the time their parents are in their 50s. This may be the exact point when children would leave the house to go off to college or to start a career.
In other words, any potential custody situation may be a lot simpler than it would be for couples who are getting divorced in their mid-30s, with toddlers or infants in the home. These younger couples have to think about complex parenting plans and who gets to make legal or medical decisions for their children. But older couples don’t have to spend as much time thinking about that because any children they may have are likely already independent adults.
How it may be more complicated
However, the financial side of divorce is often more complicated as spouses age. For one thing, older couples tend to have more complex assets. They may own their own homes or be business owners. Additionally, one of the biggest things to consider is how divorce is going to impact a person’s retirement. Spouses may have to use a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to split up retirement funds or benefits. They may have to consider how dividing their assets now is going to change when they can retire or how much money they need to do so.
At the end of the day, divorce can be complicated at any age, for a variety of reasons. Those who are going through it need to know about all of their legal options. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start.