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Gray divorce: The personal and financial impact

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Family Law

Young people getting married impulsively make up a significant number of divorces. Yet, that demographic does not lead the back when it comes to marital dissolutions. Surprisingly, couples over 50 have taken first place in divorce rates among all age groups. The trend is not just limited to the US. The movement has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Known as gray divorce, the notion of ending a marriage late in life has gained acceptance, with couples no longer willing to endure their golden years in possible misery.

Many factors are in play and include:

  • “Empty nest syndrome,” where couples are alone together, forces them to reassess what they want for the remainder of their lives
  • More women in the workforce earning a salary represents a quantum shift from the man being the breadwinner
  • More than half of the population who is middle-aged are likely to give beyond 85 years old see an opportunity to start a new life that will last possibly more than 40 years

Emotional and financial consequences

Setting aside what caused the divorce, the unique challenges for middle-aged divorcees are numerous, starting with money-related matters that essentially divide a couple’s nest egg.

  • Sources of income – Between income and market demand for talent being radically different, older people considering divorce must understand those peak earning years are about to become a reality. Add to that, inevitably, specific skills become obsolete, impacting bottom lines and affecting how spousal support is determined.
  • Retirement funds – Gray divorcing spouses are each looking at 50 percent of their nest egg may create future financial difficulties. Creative strategies and solutions are paramount, particularly when it comes to minimizing onerous tax burdens.

Money-related matters aside, the personal fallout can be equally devastating. Divorcing late in life will likely shock loved ones, particularly children, regardless of age. Parents thinking that older children can handle it better than if they were younger could be surprised and should tread carefully.


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