Realizing that divorce is imminent often forces people to take stock of their lives from both a personal and a financial perspective. You may realize that you need to make some major adjustments to your lifestyle or your plans for the future, especially if you are 50 years old or older.
A divorce that occurs when spouses are near the age of retirement or after decades of marriage is a gray divorce. They have a tendency to be far more complicated than a divorce that occurs earlier in life.
The exact issues you will need to address in a gray divorce will depend on your unique circumstances. However, there are two concerns that frequently complicate divorces when people call it quits after many years of marriage.
Almost everything you own may be marital property
Trying to find a fair way to divide your assets is often a challenge. Couples tend to disagree about what would be appropriate, and it can be very hard for them to compromise. When most of your adult life has been spent married to your spouse, the vast majority of your income and personal property is subject to division and the divorce.
Not only will you likely lose a significant portion of your marital estate the divorce process, but you may also have to make some changes to your retirement plan. The savings that you have, even if the account is in just your name, may also be subject to division in your divorce.
The social fallout can be intense
Some people choose to wait until later in life to divorce specifically because they do not want to end their marriage while they still have minor children at home. Gray divorces typically do not involve custody battles, but couples often have to deal with very emotional and upset adult children or grandchildren.
In fact, your older family members will have an easier time understanding why you divorce and are therefore likely to take sides. Adult children and grandchildren make decide they don’t want someone present at family gathering anymore if they blame that person for the divorce.
The change in your family circumstances can also have an impact on your retirement plan and how far you can stretch your retirement savings after the divorce. Although you should not stay in an unhappy marriage out of fear of what the divorce will mean, you do need to have realistic expectations for what your upcoming family court proceedings will mean for you and the rest of your family.
As with any other divorce, your chances of success will be better when you learn about state law and have someone advocating for you. Understanding what you can expect in your upcoming gray divorce too make the right choices during this challenging time.