A gray divorce involves individuals in their 50s or older. These individuals have typically spent at least 20 years in their marriages. These divorces often occur after their children have left home and started their own lives.
Gray divorces differ significantly from other types simply due to the age of the parties. There are things that older adults should know about this process.
Division of assets
Young couples typically have few assets, but as they age, the number and value of their assets increase. Therefore, by the time these couples are in their 50s and beyond, they tend to have a lot of marital property. The parties may find it complicated to divide the communal assets, which could include businesses, stock options, bonuses and pensions. Even the distribution of airline miles should be fair.
Spousal support is also typical in gray divorces, especially in cases where one party does not or has not worked because it is unlikely that this individual will find and keep a job long enough to become fully self-supporting. The court strives to order enough support to maintain the parties’ lifestyles as much as possible.
Spousal support does not end with retirement either. In fact, the supporting spouse may not be able to retire when planned due to budget constraints.
Throughout the years, both spouses have probably grown attached to the family home. Often, one spouse can buy out the other, which can result in significant debt and income requirements, or the parties can sell their home and divide the profits.
Spouses seeking a gray divorce often have different priorities than younger couples. Preparation is key to managing unexpected outcomes and ensuring a smooth transition into the next phase of their lives.