In Indiana and across the country, the overall divorce rate has been declining for over 20 years. The opposite, however, is true for Americans over the age of 50. Between 1990 and 2010, the divorce rate for this sector doubled, and this trend shows no sign of stopping. “Gray divorce” has become a major phenomenon, especially as people lead longer, healthier lives. However, there are also serious financial and legal considerations that can come with it, especially when retirement accounts are a concern.
Researchers say that there are a number of reasons why people are increasingly choosing to divorce later in life. Social attitudes toward ending a marriage have shifted significantly in the past decades, and today’s older generations are the same people who made divorce a more common and acceptable solution. Some of the older couples choosing to divorce are not ending long-time marriages; they may be ending a second or third marriage after a previous divorce. These are often are two-income marriages, and people may feel less trapped in unhappy relationships than they did in the past. Other couples who raised children together may decide to divorce after their kids leave the home.
However, there are also major financial changes that can accompany a gray divorce. For people who are not yet retired, both parties may need to put extra effort into boosting their retirement funds. These funds are often a major asset divided in the divorce settlement, and it can be more costly to fund two single retirements than one as a couple.
For people at any stage of life, divorce carries legal and financial consequences as well as its emotional challenges. A family law attorney may work with a divorcing client to negotiate a fair settlement on a range of matters, including property division and alimony.