What Is Gray Divorce?
Gray divorce or silver splinter is a term referring to the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older “gray-haired couples” in long lasting marriages.
Gray divorce issues
According to Forbes Magazine, “Gray Divorce: Its Reasons and Implications” published in 2019, the social stigma surrounding divorce has gradually diminished over the years, but has not led to an overall increase in divorce, except among people over the age of 50. Some of the circumstances that have been highlighted as a cause or negatively impacting the success of long-term marriages that may contribute to the increase in divorce among people in this age bracket include financial management, growing apart, infidelity, better health and life expectancy rates, and addictions.
While gray divorce trends have been documented dating back to the early 1980s it was not until 2004 that this age demographic of divorces was labeled as such. In a 2004 study titled, “The Divorce Experience: A Study of Divorce at Midlife and Beyond,” AARP created public awareness about gray divorce. This concept was further expanded upon in Deirdre Bairs 2007 book titled, “Calling it Quits” which contains interviews with older couples divorcing.
Gray Divorce Statistics
According to the AARP study:
66% of females initiated divorces later in life, which contrasted with 41% of male participants initiating divorce.
73% of participants divorced in their 40s
22% of participants divorced in their 50s and
4% of participants divorced in their 60s or later.
Preparing for life after a gray divorce
Divorcing after 50 can be daunting particularly when married couples plan to grow old together. Planning for later phases in life can be difficult and overwhelming as people age and need to contend with retirement and potential health issues. Planning for a single future can be very different from what you have envisioned for yourself. Factors to consider when divorcing at this phase of life, include retirement planning, senior living needs and financial planning.
It is important to meet with a financial advisor to create a new retirement plan for your future. Divorce will likely result in the distribution of retirement accounts, and perhaps include provisions for Social Security income. It is important that you understand how the distribution of these retirement assets will impact you going forward.
Senior living needs: Now that you will be unmarried it is important for you to give some thought to how you will obtain the care that you need as you age. A long-term care specialist along with seeking out an elder law attorney in your area can be another professional source for you as you assess your options.
Your financial budget: You may not be able to remain in the marital home after your divorce and even if you do your monthly budget will change. Your attorney can discuss gray divorce alimony and how it may impact you. Planning a budget that will meet your current needs is an integral part of working through your divorce.
Divorce lawyers for seniors
DeTorres & DeGeorge is always prepared to provide compassionate representation. Contact us today to discuss your gray divorce so that you can successfully plan for your life going forward.