Gray divorce refers to couples in their 50s, 60s, or older who, after being married for 20-plus years, decide to get divorced. While the overall divorce rate in the United States has declined over the past 20 years, the divorce rate in the over-50 age group has doubled, according to researchers from Bowling Green State University. In addition, a 2021 report released by the U.S. Census Department found that close to 35 percent of Americans divorced in 2020 were 55 years of age or older, which is twice the rate of other age groups surveyed.
If you are going through a divorce after a long-term marriage, there are several issues that make gray divorces different. It is important that you understand some of the common causes of gray divorces and the issues that may impact your divorce.
What Are Common Causes of Gray Divorces?
While older couples divorce for some of the same reasons as other couples, there are other causes that are unique to older couples who have been married for a significant amount of time. The following are examples of some of the most common reasons for gray divorces:
- Falling out of love
- Money and spending habits
- Decreased libido
- Empty nest syndrome
- Active versus passive lifestyles
What Issues Should I Be Aware of During a Gray Divorce?
When seeking a divorce later in life, the most complex issues likely have to do with finances. Having more assets can lead to more complications during the property division process. The following are examples of financial challenges that are commonly seen in gray divorces:
- Alimony: Alimony may reflect bonuses, stocks, executive compensation packages, and other financial perks that older, more financially established people tend to have, compared to when they are younger.
- Dividing the marital property: New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided in a manner that is deemed fair rather than equal. Any investments or property that was purchased before getting married is considered separate property and is generally not subject to equitable distribution.
- Inheritances: Inheritances are generally considered separate property with rare exceptions.
- Social Security: When a long-term marriage ends in divorce, one spouse may collect Social Security from the other spouse’s earnings.
- Life insurance: The divorce decree may require life insurance on the person paying alimony in the event of their death.
- Dividing pensions and retirement accounts: For many retirement plans, you may need a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This is a substantial asset that may need to be divided equitably.
Whitehouse Station Divorce Lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC Help Guide Older Couples During the Divorce Process
If you and your spouse are ending a long-term marriage, you can contact our Whitehouse Station divorce lawyers at Tune Law Group, LLC for legal help. We understand the unique issues associated with gray divorces. To schedule an initial, private consultation, call us today at 908-434-1061 or contact us online. Our office is located in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and we serve clients in and around Hunterdon County, Monmouth County, Whitehouse, and Tewksbury.