Navigating a gray divorce in today’s society

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

Much like marriages can begin at any age or phase of life, so to can the end of a marriage. Divorce remains a relevant life event in society, as nearly half of all marriages end with divorce. Additionally, current data suggests that there is a rise in divorce among certain demographics, particularly those in retirement age. While gray divorces are not rare, the uptick in their filings bring light to the complexities that a later in life divorce can bring.

Filing for a gray divorce

Like any divorce filing, spouses should understand the costs and legal issues involved in their divorce. Even though spouses can be amicable with the filing, the reality is that gray divorces can be complex, making them likely to cost more and take more time.

Why is this? A gray divorce is a divorce that occurs among individuals that are over the age of 50. Oftentimes, these couples are divorcing after many years and even decades of marriage. This can create issues, as this is the time in life that a spouse is either getting ready to retire or is already retired. This makes the cost of a divorce very impactful.

For instance, a gray divorce could be completed for less than $5,000; however, that is if there aren’t any disputed issues or special entanglements. On the other hand, if there are issues with assets, specifically retirement accounts, this could extend the divorce process by one or two years. And depending on the complexities of the issues, this could result in a six-figure bill for litigation.

Uptick in filings

The divorce rate in the U.S. has seen a decline over the past two decades; however, the divorce rate among those 50 years old and older has risen. While various factors can attribute to this, such as the current status of the nation, it is important to note that this is a large demographic of individuals when compared to other generations.

Navigating a divorce at any age can be difficult. Not only is it emotionally taxing, but it can be challenging to navigate when there are so many factors to address. Therefore, those seeking to divorce or are in the process of getting one should take the time to understand the process, what rights one has and how best to move forward with the divorce. This can help ensure one’s interests are met and rights are protected.


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