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What is a gray divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2024 | Divorce |

Every divorce is different. People in a variety of situations have unique issues that arise when they decide to end a marriage. Some types of divorce are both different enough from the standard marital dissolution process and common enough that they have acquired their own nicknames.

Gray divorce is a type of divorce that people talk about far more now than they did just a few years ago. In fact, gray divorce has become a common social concern. What technically constitutes a gray divorce?

Gray divorce involves older adults

People refer to any divorce involving those in their 50s or beyond as a gray divorce. At a time when overall divorce rates have dropped across the United States, gray divorce rates have actually increased. Older adults are more likely than many younger demographics to decide to divorce.

Those over the age of 55 have more than twice the risk of divorce when compared to divorce rates for their age group in the 1990s. Those over the age of 65 divorced three times more frequently than they did three decades ago. Couples who divorce later in life and after longer marriages may have more complicated divorces.

What makes gray divorce different?

Technically, the same general laws apply to divorce regardless of when people decide to end a marriage. However, long-term marriages have more assets to divide. One spouse could also be dependent on the other for financial support.

While any children the couple has together may have already left the home, the entanglement of their financial circumstances can make the negotiation of a gray divorce relatively difficult. Those who have been together for decades and who are close or past the age of retirement often worry that the end of a marriage might affect their comfort during their retirement years.

Careful planning can help people maximize their stability when they decide to end a long-term marriage. They may also need to think carefully about how a divorce could affect their retirement plans.

Understanding that gray divorce is common, and that such divorces are not subject to different laws, may help people who feel unsatisfied with their long-term marriages feel more confident about filing. Gray divorce can potentially help people make the most of their golden years after a long union comes to an end.