An increasing number of older individuals in the United States are deciding to end long marriages in what is called gray divorce. The divorce rate among Americans since 1990 has nearly doubled. Just 50 years ago, only 2.8% of Americans over the age of 50 were divorcing, whereas more than 15% of total divorces include older couples.
The gray divorce trend has been on the rise because Americans are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Life expectancy for those ages 65 and older has increased from 17.5 years to 18.8 years. For those in unhappy marriages, 20 years of additional unhappiness seems like too much.
One of the most important benefits of a gray divorce is the general lack of child custody issues. Typically, by the time the couple reaches this state, their children are already grown up and living on their own. The lack of custody and child support issues makes the divorce process faster and cheaper.
Likewise, an older married couple is more likely to be able to handle a collaborative divorce, rather than needing the long, expensive process of litigation. Collaborative law is dealt with outside of court by a team of professionals. These individuals work to help a couple reach a divorce agreement without needing to go to rely on legal battles.
However, a severe disadvantage to gray divorce is retirement and pension finances. Most married couples live together for years, contributing to individual retirement funds or shared pension plans they intend on using after they retire. Most of these funds will later need to be divided during the property division process, which can leave some couples scrambling to refill their replete accounts.
If older individuals do need to return to work because of the divorce, it tends to be harder to get hired this late in life, particularly for older women. If you’re going to be involved in a gray divorce, you and your spouse should both begin financial planning for the future.
Talk to one of our skilled Midlothian divorce lawyers about your case if you’re interested in beginning the divorce process. DeFazio Bal has more than 50 years of combined legal experience to offer. Let us answer your questions and address any concerns you might have about pursuing a divorce. We understand this might be an emotionally trying time for you, so we will do our best to make the experience as stress-free for you as possible. Let us see how we can help.
Contact us at (804) 250-3729 or fill out our online form to schedule a case consultation with us today.