“Gray divorce” is the term used to describe the growing number of mature couples divorcing throughout the U.S. According to a study conducted by Forbes and Bowling Green State University, the number of divorces among couples aged 55-64 doubled between 1990 and 2012, and it tripled among couples 65 and older.
Why the sudden upward trend in divorces among couples in this age bracket? The jury’s still out, but researchers, sociologists, and financial professionals have pinpointed several potential reasons:
- The idea of divorce is much more widely accepted than it once used to be, allowing older couples the opportunity to split without the social backlash they might have experienced 20 years ago.
- Many couples with children choose to wait out an unhappy marriage until their children are old enough and mature enough to handle their parents’ divorce.
- There’s a psychological component to some of these divorces. Older couples who are unhappily married don’t want to live out the rest of their lives in a less-than-fulfilling marriage.
Helpful Tips for Couples Considering Divorce Later in Life
Divorcing later in life can be a bit more complicated than it is for those who end the marriage at a younger age. Why? The longer a couple is together, the more financial and personal assets they will acquire together. Any time a divorce involves substantial savings accounts and / or high assets, the process of ending the marriage will likely be more complicated.
Divorcing couples aged 50 and older should consider the following:
- Take stock of your savings accounts and retirement funds. How much have you saved? How much are you still contributing to these accounts? A full inventory should be completed before moving forward with the divorce. Social Security benefits should also be taken into consideration at this time.
- Avoid tax penalties if you can. The best way to do this is through smart division of your assets. Consider a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to help protect you and your spouse from potentially owing taxes when your funds are transferred from one account to another.
- Align yourself with an established divorce lawyer in the area. The right lawyer will ensure your rights are protected and your best interests are kept at the forefront of all divorce proceedings.
If you’re considering divorce and you fall into the “gray” bracket described above, O’Sullivan Law Group can help. It is our personal pledge to ensure each of our clients remains informed and involved in all legal matters pertaining to their case. We include our clients in every important decision about their case, and we’ll do the same for you. Contact a Morris County divorce attorney at our office for a free, confidential consultation.