Deciding to end a marriage later in life can be very difficult. Many couples, even at advanced ages, are simply unprepared for the unique legal issues that coincide with a divorce. When divorcing, couples must take into account healthcare, retirement savings, insurance, estate planning and social security issues. Senior divorce is now commonly known as “gray divorce.”
What Is Gray Divorce?
Using the phrase “gray divorce” when referencing a divorce involving spouses over the age of 50 has become a trend lately. This phrase is frequently used to describe divorced couples of the Baby Boomer generation. While the overall divorce rate has steadily declined over the past two decades, the rate has actually doubled for married couples over the age of 50. Let’s look into some of the most common reasons why this is becoming a trend.
Common Gray Divorce Reasons
You may be wondering why so many older couples are filing for divorce these days. Below are a few reasons why gray divorces occur.
Lifestyles can change dramatically when one or both spouses decide to retire. Ultimately, this can have a negative impact on the marriage overall. Some married couples may find that the increased time spent together does not make them happy.
Some couples could find that their marriage is not strong enough to survive once the children leave home.
The majority of couples tend to hold off on filing for divorce until they feel financially stable. Financial stability is seen as more of a female trend these days, as 66 percent of divorces between the ages of 40-69 are initiated by women. This could indicate most women feel most stable at this point in their lives.
It’s no secret that second, third and fourth marriages have lower success rates. Among the Baby Boomer generation, multiple marriages are not uncommon. In fact, the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 with more than one marriage is 2.5 times higher than individuals who have only been married once. If you are remarried and over 64 years old, then your marriage is four times more likely to end in divorce.
Couples with kids will commonly postpone their divorce until the children are grown and/or out of the house.
Impacts Of Gray Divorce
The emotional impacts of a gray divorce will differ based on the individual, of course. Typically, the largest impact a divorce has at an advanced age is on one’s pocketbook. Older individuals will find it difficult to financially recover since there will be less time to do so.
Some elderly couples run into unresolvable issues during retirement, with many factors contributing to the termination of the marriage. Serious financial considerations need to be made for divorcing seniors, such as housing and assets. Housing is a primary concern for all individuals enduring a divorce process.
Gray Divorce Considerations
When filing for divorce later in life, you will have to make a few unique considerations regarding:
- Social Security.
- Spousal Support.
- Long-Term Care Options.
- Insurance Policies.
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