What Exactly is a “Gray Divorce”?

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in divorces among couples in the later stages of life. Often referred to as “gray divorce,” it is essentially divorce over the age of 50. And, you don’t have to be gray to be in a gray divorce.  We don’t know for sure why the divorce rate among those in their 50s and even 60s is rising.  Perhaps there is no longer the buffer of children residing at home. Maybe it’s because the general population is living longer or maybe the thought is that we don’t see ourselves spending the next 30 years with the same person. Whatever the reason for this increase in later-in-life divorces, gray divorces come with unique challenges to navigate.

Key Considerations in Gray Divorce

There are unique factors in gray divorces that family law practitioners should keep in mind.  For example, how realistic is it for a party that has remained at home to raise children to go back into the job market at 55 years old and earn what they earned when they were 30? How do we address what would be a long-term alimony obligation when retirement may only be a few years away? What happens when there is a plan for retirement that can’t be followed as now two separate households have to be supported? Additionally, the division of retirement accounts and pensions must consider tax implications and future financial stability. Social Security benefits should also be considered as eligibility for spousal benefits may change after divorce.

Post Gray Divorce Considerations

Older couples often have complex estate plans, including wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations. Revising these documents is essential to reflect the new post-divorce arrangements. Ensuring that you have the proper emotional and psychological support is also important. Gray divorce can be emotionally challenging, as there is often a long history together and the prospect of facing retirement years alone. There are a number of counseling or support groups available.

Ultimately, the goal in gray divorce cases is to help clients transition into the next chapter of their lives with financial security, emotional well-being, and a clear plan for the future. By addressing the distinct challenges that gray divorce presents, family law attorneys can provide invaluable guidance and support during this significant life transition. An interesting article for further information on this trend recently came out from CNN. Click here to read the article.

How Mandelbaum Barrett PC’s Matrimonial and Family Law Attorneys Can Help You Navigate Gray Divorce

Our knowledgeable team is available to discuss any questions you may have as you navigate this next stage of life. Our attorneys have a unique understanding of the specific issues related to retirement, social security, and estate planning.

To get in touch with David, he can be reached at (973) 243-7905 or DCarton@mblawfirm.com