Hearing that a couple is splitting up may be a surprise, but it’s not viewed with the same level of shock and disapproval as was the case years ago. Now people understand that not everybody turns out to be compatible, and that infidelity and stress can lead couples to go their separate ways. What can come as a shock, however, is when news comes of a divorce involving a couple that has been together for decades. Known as a “grey” divorce, they are becoming increasingly common, as couples find themselves unwilling to stay together after their children have grown and left the house. Though these moves are intended to yield an improved quality of life, those who seek grey divorce need to understand the ramifications, as grey divorces are very different from those involving younger couples.
There are some obvious differences between grey divorce and others that are not so obvious. Clearly, issues such as child custody and child support are no longer an issue for those who are in their 50s, 60s or even older, but the absence of those issues is offset by the potential difficulties involving equitable distribution. Couples who are older have fewer earnings capacity than they once did, and that means that the opportunity to rebuild retirement funds or equity in a home is absent. Partners looking for a grey divorce also have less of an opportunity to start supporting themselves, and that may become a very real need if one partner had always been the breadwinner, or if either spouse has already opted for retirement.
Grey divorce is on the upswing in the United States. Though some assume that couples in their 50s or older are divorcing because of infidelity, that is not necessarily the case. In most instances, divorces are a result of children having grown and individual spouses seeking greater happiness and self-actualization. Unfortunately, the quest for greater happiness during later years can be financially devastating if not approached with a strong sense of your rights. If you are considering a grey divorce, it is important that you have a good sense of what you’re entitled to, as well as an attorney who will be a passionate advocate on your behalf. For information on how we can help, contact us today.