Are you and your spouse candidates for a gray divorce? An article in Kiplinger says you are if the two of you are 50 years old or older and/or if your marriage has lasted at least 20 years.
You are not alone. While gray divorces comprised only about 10% of U.S. divorces 30 years ago, today, they account for nearly 25%.
Gray divorce factors
Many factors, including the following, account for the rise in gray divorces:
- People expect more from marriage than they once did.
- People are less willing to “settle” for and maintain unfulfilling marriages today.
- Divorce no longer stigmatizes you as it would have in prior years.
- Many older people today think they still have the chance to find “true love” via the numerous online dating services devoted to persons in this age category.
Gray divorce issues
Whatever your reasons for contemplating a gray divorce, the issues you face will be different than those faced by younger divorcing couples. For example, you likely will not face allocation of parental responsibilities issues because your children are already grown. Conversely, your need for spousal support and maintenance may be greater than usual if you spent many years out of the workforce while you raised your children.
Perhaps the most important issue you face is your approaching retirement. Consequently, dividing up either or both spouses’ retirement accounts appropriately becomes an all-important factor in your property settlement agreement. Depending on what kinds of retirement accounts or pension plans exist, you may need a qualified domestic relations order, called a QDRO, attached to your divorce decree in addition to your property settlement agreement.