Divorce can be emotionally and financially challenging. When a divorce occurs later in life, the financial impact can be amplified. Divorcing later in life provides less time to rebuild. A university study found that the rate of divorce for couples over 50 doubled from 1990 to 2010. A quarter of divorces involve someone over the age of 50. Overall, more older adults are experiencing divorce.
There are a variety of factors that impact the increase in so-called gray divorces, including the fact that people are living longer, attitudes about divorce are changing, the number of remarriages is increasing and more women in the work force. While gray divorces have many things in common with other divorces, they can also present additional challenges as couples enter retirement and may have a high asset divorce, grown children and fewer work years following the divorce.
Various experts may be involved in the divorce process and financial experts can be especially important in a gray divorce. Couples divorcing later in life may have a significant number of assets built up and will also need to address retirement concerns in the divorce. Representatives for the parties, mediators, financial planners and accountants may all be an important part of the divorce process. Divorce-related decisions can be emotional so it is important to prioritize potential disputes such as disputes over the family home and to clearly understand the implications, such as tax implications, of property division. In addition, it is necessary to understand the couple's finances and needs and how to address those concerns during the divorce process.
Divorce can be challenging at any age but the family law process seeks to provide the options, tools and resources to help couples through it. The more information divorcing couples have concerning the family law process, the better positioned they will be for the future following their divorce.
Source: The Gazette, "Keeping some green in gray divorce," Sarah Skidmore Sell, Sept. 14, 2016