If you’re over the age of 50 and considering divorce, you’re not alone. “Gray divorce,” or divorce among couples over the age of 50, has been on the rise since 1990.
Gray divorce can be an emotionally and financially draining experience, so it’s important to understand what you need to know before taking this big step. In this blog, we discuss exactly what a gray divorce is and how to navigate it successfully.
What Is a Gray Divorce?
The definition of gray divorce is simple—it is when couples over the age of 50 decide to end their marriage. The term “gray divorce” was first used in 2004 by AARP Magazine and has been growing more popular ever since.
Why Are Gray Divorces Increasing?
There are many reasons why people may choose to get a gray divorce, but the most common cause is that people are living longer than ever before—and they want to live those years happily and independently.
As life expectancy increases, so too does the likelihood that marriages will end in later life due to irreconcilable differences or infidelity. Some experts also believe that with greater financial independence comes greater freedom to pursue individual goals without being limited by a marriage partner's wishes or expectations.
Unique Issues in Gray Divorces
Unlike younger couples who go through a divorce, older couples often face different financial and emotional challenges when they choose to end their marital relationship. They also have an increased risk of social isolation due to reduced job opportunities and family ties.
Gray divorces also bring up questions about estate planning and grappling with longer life expectancies than before. Below, we discuss some of the issues unique to couples involved in a gray divorce in further detail.
Timing & Retirement Funds
Many people who are getting divorced later in life have already begun planning for retirement or may be retired or close to it. This makes timing the settlement of funds very important as some decisions can have long-term implications for both parties involved.
When negotiating property division, it is important to consider how each asset will be divided so that both parties are able to maintain financial stability after the divorce is finalized. It may also be beneficial to consider tax implications when dividing assets such as retirement funds or other investments that could result in high taxes if not handled correctly.
After getting divorced, you may lose your health insurance coverage. Medicare coverage is not offered to people who are not at least 65 years old. Thus, if you are not yet eligible for Medicare, you will need to consider whether you have access to affordable healthcare options.
Social Security & Long-Term Care Planning
Social security benefits can play an integral role in achieving financial stability after a gray divorce has been finalized and should be taken into consideration when settling funds and assets. Additionally, long-term care planning should not be overlooked during this process as medical costs are generally higher for individuals 50 years and older due to age-related medical issues and pre-existing conditions. It is important to plan ahead for any potential medical expenses that may arise down the road so that there is sufficient funding available if needed.
Adult Children Can Be Deeply Affected
While parents often worry how their minor children will be affected by their divorce, adult children, especially older adults, are not worried about as much. However, adult children more often struggle to accept and healthily process their divorce than younger children.
Here at the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC we specialize in providing high-quality divorce services, including divorces involving high-net-worths, high assets, and gray divorce couples. Contact our firm online or via phone (845) 605-4330 to learn more about how we can help you.