Divorces for those over the age of 50 have been named Gray Divorces. While divorce rates have been steadily declining in the past 25 years, divorces for people over the age of 50 have doubled, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. In fact, the report shows that 25% of people experiencing divorce are over the age of 50.
Attorneys in the Dallas metroplex have definitely seen this trend. Most gray divorces are to couples in first marriages. Most are long term marriages for twenty years or more. Gray divorces are more likely to be initiated by women than men. And, for the most part, these divorces are less contentious because they have simply grown apart. The divorce is far more about increasing happiness then it is about hating each other.
Although no one knows exactly why there is a rise in divorces over the age of 50, there are a number of factors that may account for the rise in gray divorces:
- Many women in the over 50 age group have careers and can afford to get divorced.
- The over 50 age group is experiencing an “empty nest” after their children have left home and may not have as much in common anymore.
- Many have grown apart during their marriage as they put all their time and energy into careers and children.
- People expect more from their marriages today and are wanting to spend their golden years with a partner who is their “best friend” or “soul mate”.
- There is less stigma associated with being divorced today, both religiously and socially.
- “Until Death Do Us Part” is a much longer time as people are living longer than ever before.
- With increased life-spans many feel they simply cannot live any longer in a marriage that has grown apart.
Gray divorces are especially difficult because most have spent their entire adult life with their spouse. It can be an overwhelming process for both spouses — emotionally, socially and financially. Because they have most likely shared friends and raised a family together they are likely to still have some contact with each other after divorce as they attend weddings, births of grandchildren, visit friends, and visit extended family around the holidays.
There most important to address in a gray divorce are:
- All of the retirement planning has to be adjusted – from where they will live to how they will live.
- The strategies implemented for division of the assets and debts must be carefully selected to minimize tax consequences and future liability.
- The division of assets must be strategically implemented because they impact future financing options.
- There are situations that require adding other professionals to the team, such as financial planners and accountants.
- Complete and accurate division of the assets is essential to prevent any future litigation or credit issues.
- The negotiation strategies must be selected very carefully because the strategies implemented can impact the extended family and shared-friend relationships well into the future.
Gray divorces are very difficult for people to complete on their own. Although most would like to avoid the expense of hiring a lawyer, an experienced family law attorney utilizes strategies that improve the outcome, minimize the risk and increase the likelihood of an amicable future for all involved. After all, the two spouses may still share friends and family for many years to come.
If you are considering a divorce and you are over the age of 50 our experienced family law attorneys can help you. Contact us today at 214-265-7630 for a consultation.