senior couple

What Is a Gray Divorce?

What Is a Gray Divorce?

Divorce can happen at any age, but when it occurs between spouses over 50, it is often referred to as a “gray” divorce. So, what makes a gray divorce different from other cases? Keep reading to learn more.

Why People Divorce Late in Life

When most people consider divorce, they picture younger spouses filing for dissolution or divorce. However, research shows that older spouses are divorcing at higher rates. At least one quarter of all divorces involve senior adults 50 years or older.

Research points to the near erasure of stigma surrounding divorce as a primary cause. Seniors are now of a generation that matured and spearheaded a culture that redefined love and commitment and no longer feel obligated to remain in marriages where they have grown apart from their spouse or have irreconcilable issues. No one wants to live out their life unhappily, and now people are doing something about it.

Other reasons why divorce may be more prevalent is the increase in information about it and an increase in wealth. Some individuals who fall into the “gray” generation have more independent wealth than their parents and grandparents. Divorce is more affordable for them and thanks to the internet they know what lies ahead should they choose to file.

It is important to note that people divorce for any number of reasons but whatever the cause, it is deeply personal. No two marriages are the same and they certainly do not end the same way either. Divorce can be a way out or a parting of ways – in either case, the spouses deserve to be happy regardless of their age.

Unique Challenges

While divorce does not have an age cap by any means, there are unique challenges for spouses over 50. One of the most complicated aspects of any divorce is property division. Property division is the division of assets between spouses.

Depending on the financial status of each spouse, certain assets may be subject to property division. For older spouses, retirement and pension funds could complicated the process and even derail the divorce proceedings.

It is also important to note that the longer spouses have been married, the more intertwined their lives become. If a spouse files for divorce after years of marriage, figuring out property ownership and finding documentation to prove ownership becomes exceedingly difficult.

Another primary concern for spouses seeking divorce is Social Security benefits. For many senior adults, Social Security is a supplemental income or even a primary source of income. If that income were to be cut in half, one spouse may be put in a tight position financially. However, the general rule is that if the spouses were married for at least ten years or more and they are 62 or older they may draw from their ex-spouses Social Security benefits even after divorce.

Additional Considerations

Divorce is a complicated legal process and a very emotional one as well. Spouses who drift apart after decades of marriage still have years of memories and associations that come up during divorce. It is important to be kind to yourself and your spouse when filing for a gray divorce and consider the fact that you can live your life the way you choose.

Legal Support

If you are considering a divorce and are 50 years or older, Nichols Dixon PLLC can help. Our compassionate legal team can help you decide the best course forward. We can answer your questions and provide insight into the divorce process so you can make an informed decision about your future. If you choose to file, our team can provide support and guidance every step of the way.

When you need dependable, trustworthy legal counsel contact Nichols Dixon PLLC.