Connecticut Family
Law Attorneys

Gray divorce is on the rise

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2023 | Divorce |

A gray divorce is a divorce case between two spouses who are at least 50 years old. When you look at the statistics, there’s no doubt about it: This type of divorce is becoming more common. The divorce rate for people in this age group has been going up in recent years with no signs of slowing.

If divorce rates were going up for all age groups, this would not be surprising. But the opposite is true. All other age groups generally have a declining divorce rate, but not older individuals. For those in the 50+ age group, the odds of divorce are just getting higher each year.

Why is this happening?

One reason that this could be happening is because older couples are becoming empty-nesters, so they no longer have children to distract them from potential issues with their own relationships. Another reason may be that life expectancy has been increasing, so couples are living longer and have more opportunities to seek a divorce. Finally, the way that society views divorce has changed over the years, so many of these couples may not have felt comfortable getting divorced decades ago, even if they wanted to. But they can now.

What are some potential challenges?

A gray divorce can be particularly challenging from a financial perspective. Many older couples have been married longer and accumulated more assets. Since their children are likely out of the home, child custody complications are less common, but disputes and debates can happen over how to split up assets.

One example of the broader complexities of asset division in grey divorce cases involves couples who are relying on a retirement fund that they had been planning to use together. One person may have a retirement fund or a pension plan offered by their employer. If they get divorced, the other person will be worried about losing their ability to retire. These plans can be split up using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), but it is an extra step that older couples have to take more often than younger couples.

If you are getting divorced at an older age, it’s important to understand the complexities and challenges you could face. You also need to know exactly what legal options you have to work toward an optimal outcome. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.