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What might older couples want to know about gray divorce?

There are numerous factors to consider before filing for divorce. You and your spouse have likely discussed the pros and cons of separating and maybe even spent time in marriage counseling.

After doing your best to make the marriage work, you and your spouse may decide the relationship is over and it’s time to file for divorce.

Why is the divorce rate increasing for couples 50 and older?

Gray divorce has rapidly increased in recent decades. A study by Psychology Today found that the divorce rate for couples aged 55 to 64 years old quadrupled in the past 30 years.

Here are some of the leading causes of gray divorce:

  • Disagreements about how to manage finances
  • Empty nest syndrome; growing apart after their children have left home
  • Selfishness, addiction or infidelity
  • Searching for happiness later in life

Of course, there may be other reasons couples decide to separate after decades years of marriage.

Many people see divorce as a life-altering change; for many families, it is. Divorce can be both positive and negative, depending on each couple’s situation.

How might divorce impact finances?

Divorce at any age can be stressful, but for couples 50 and older, divorce could wreak havoc on their finances. In fact, both spouses may have to work for longer than they had planned.

Without a prenuptial agreement, your retirement funds will likely be considered marital property, which means they may be split evenly between you and your spouse.

Although you were planning on sharing your funds with your spouse, you will now need to account for the cost of divorce, living expenses, spousal support (if applicable), health insurance premiums, and other payments, you may now incur.

What does this mean for you?

Just because the cost of divorce may be expensive doesn’t mean older couples should remain in an unhappy marriage.

Speaking with financial and legal experts may help reduce the financial impact of the divorce process.

Additionally, if you and your spouse can agree on all aspects of your divorce—including how retirement funds and other assets will be divided—you may be able to reduce the overall expense.


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