What are grey divorces?

Do you know of a person in their 50’s or above who has divorced a long-time spouse? If you don’t, you probably will soon. That is because the divorce rate for older Americans has risen exponentially in the last several years. Grey divorce is the name for this phenomenon, which describes married couples splitting up after over 20 years together.

These couples, realizing that they will live well into their retirement years, don’t want to continue the poor relationship they settled with for years when busy building a career and raising children. For some couples, the split happens after the reality of retirement hits, and there is suddenly the ability to spend more time together.

While there are advantages to divorcing and having a fresh start, there are also challenges to a late in life divorce. The more time that a couple is together, the more of everything there is to divide. Here are some of the issues that grey divorcees need to remember.

Ensure an Equitable Asset Split

Remember that equitable is not necessarily equal when it comes to splitting assets. If one spouse has focused on the home and family throughout the marriage, forgoing a career, this may mean that the career-focused spouse needs to aid in the continuing support of the other. Assets can include:

  • Investments
  • Real estate
  • Savings

Remember Pensions and Retirement Plans

All sources of future income from these sources need proper apportionment:

  • Social security
  • Pensions
  • IRAs and 401(k)s

Family Business Options

Couples that are joint owners of a business have post-divorce options for their enterprise. One option is to sell the business and divide the proceeds. Another is for one spouse to buy out the other and continue to run the business alone. It is also possible for both spouses to each retain their share of the company.

Manage Debt and Insurance

Any debt that the divorcing couple has needs to be divided fairly. Insurance plans, including life, health and long-term care need attention so that they are divided or restructured.

With the amount of detail that a grey divorce entails, it can be advantageous to have legal representation that is experienced in negotiating divorce settlements with multiple forms of assets and investments.

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