Some couples remain together while their children are at home, only to divorce once they become empty-nesters. The term for this type of divorce is “gray divorce” – an older couple separating after decades of marriage.
A gray divorce is unique in many ways, especially regarding marital assets.
Why is there an increase in gray divorces?
Each couple has its own reasons for going their separate ways after years of marriage, but here are some common ones:
- People are living longer and prefer to divorce rather than spend the rest of their years in an unhappy marriage.
- After years of raising a family, some people yearn for independence.
- There is an increasing acceptance of divorce among the older generations.
However, there are challenges when it comes to financial matters. Gray divorces usually involve higher assets because they occur later in life after couples have had more time to accumulate wealth. These may include the family home, real estate, retirement funds and investments. Dividing these assets can become complex, especially if one parent stayed home to raise the children.
In addition to the difficulties of untangling a lifetime of joint finances, a gray divorce can lead to hardship for one or both partners. After years of planning for a joint retirement, older individuals may find themselves in a situation of increasing costs and a reduced income.
Furthermore, a gray divorce usually comes at a time when one or both partners may begin to have health issues. If one spouse depends on the other’s health coverage, the loss means increased medical expenses.
Therefore, anyone going through a gray divorce needs to work with someone to ensure the proper division of assets and protect their financial interests.