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Why is Gray Divorce Different From Other Divorces?

 Posted on October 11, 2023 in Divorce

Naperville Divorce LawyerOtherwise known as “gray divorce,” divorce among couples who are 50 years of age or older has become increasingly common. The divorce rate among Americans in this age range has more than doubled over the last three decades. This is being attributed to several factors, including a longer life expectancy. The thought of getting divorced can be quite stressful if you’ve been married longer than you were ever single in your adult life. If you are 50 years of age or older and are considering divorce but overwhelmed by what it involves, a DuPage County, IL Gray Divorce attorney can answer your questions and help sort through the confusion and anxiety.

How Does Gray Divorce Differ from Other Divorces?

Longer life expectancy is a major reason why more and more older couples are getting divorced. In the past, unhappy couples may have stayed together for the sake of their children, and with a shorter life expectancy, once their children were grown and had moved out, it might have seemed like too drastic a measure for a limited time.

Now that people are living longer, it is fair to expect to live for many years after their children become adults. If they are not happily married, the idea of staying together at that point is not appealing. More and more people are choosing to stop settling for an unhappy relationship.

However, divorce after a long-term marriage can be complicated for several reasons, including:

  • Retirement: Most married couples have retirement plans set up to accommodate the continued marriage. If a couple gets divorced shortly before retirement, this can impact what happens to their funds. Instead of needing to finance a couple living in one home, with shared home maintenance costs, the retirement funds now need to be used for two homes. If one spouse was the main earner and the other managed the majority of family and household responsibilities, their joint retirement plan might be associated more with the earner. Deciding how to split these funds can be an arduous process.

  • Assets: When a couple has lived together for several decades, it is fair to assume they have accumulated property and other assets over that time. It can be difficult to figure out asset distribution in a way that would be considered fair to both spouses.

  • Health Insurance: While health insurance is very important when someone is older, it is often provided by one’s employer. It is quite common for an employer to also provide spousal insurance for their employee’s spouse. If a couple has their insurance provided this way and then gets divorced right before retirement, the employer could cancel the spouse’s insurance policy and then suddenly they could find themselves at an advanced age with no insurance at all.

  • Spousal support: A major factor in gray divorce is spousal support, otherwise known as maintenance or alimony. When the remaining working years before retirement are few or have come to an end, this can be a difficult topic to discuss.

  • Emotional factors: A divorce later in life generally comes after a long-term marriage, and often the couple has raised a family and been through many experiences together. The emotional toll that divorce can take on older divorcees cannot be ignored.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Gray Divorce Lawyer

If you are over 50 and are considering divorce, there are many reasons you may be feeling conflicted and overwhelmed. An experienced DuPage County, IL divorce attorney can answer your questions with sensitivity and help guide you through the process. Call Divorce Over 50 - Goostree Law Group at 630-634-5050 today to schedule a free consultation.

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