Couples Who Choose to Divorce After 50 Face Unique Obstacles

Couples Who Choose to Divorce After 50 Face Unique Obstacles

While the overall rate of divorces has been on a steady decline in recent years, the number of older couples seeking an end to their marriage has increased drastically. “Gray divorce” has become a common term used to describe these dissolutions happening between spouses over the age of 50.

A gray divorce will carry challenges that are irrelevant to younger couples looking to split. However, at the same time, there are some aspects that may be made simpler for these older partners.

Why Older Couples Get Divorced

As a couple ages, their individual interests, endeavors, and dreams may change. These changes can pull a pair in separate directions, often leading to divorce. Some gray divorcees attribute their decision to separate to changes in their:

  • Feelings: Once compatible partners could just naturally lose their spark.
  • Home dynamic: Couples may have held on to their marriage until their children went to college and are now taking the opportunity to revisit their plans to divorce as empty nesters.
  • Lifestyles: Over time, one spouse could develop hobbies, behaviors, or vices that contradict their partner’s interests and morals and lead the two to grow apart.
  • Needs: One individual may require more active care as they age, which the other may be unable to adequately provide. The stress of this could affect their relationship.

Of course, as in any divorce, the exact reasons are unique to the pair themselves. Still, these are common themes among older couples.

New Considerations for Asset Division

When a couple marries, their lives quickly become intertwined. If two people have spent decades together, it’s likely difficult to identify what is separate and marital property. As such, asset division will be a tedious task as each party strives to establish claim on individual assets that each spouse has grown attached to.

If the pair are able to amicably collaborate, coming to a settlement agreement could allow the two to resolve property disputes independently in a manner that both parties could benefit from. Our firm can help you do so.

Retirement Savings Account Division

Divorcing over 50 is especially difficult because of its proximity to each party’s retirement. The retirement nest egg that was intended to support one shared household will now have to support the costs of two separate homes. What’s more, these couples are then left with a shorter timeline in which they can earn and save to satisfy these higher projected costs.

Spousal Support

If your spouse left their career shortly after your marriage in order to take care of the home and children, it will be difficult for them to reenter the workplace. After potentially decades out of the workforce, your spouse could have a significantly impaired earning potential. As such, you are more likely to be ordered to pay alimony in order to help them maintain the marital standard of living until they can start receiving retirement benefits. This extra cost could further derail the plans you had in place for your retirement as you consider how to afford it.

Child Custody and Child Support

While there are a number of complicated considerations introduced by gray divorce, there are, still, some aspects that are made simpler. Older couples generally do not have to worry about child custody decisions, as their kids are often grown.

Furthermore, as the custody is typically not an issue, nor will child support be. Child support continues for New York families until a child turns 21. For most mature couples, their kids, if they have any, will have surpassed this cutoff age by the time the pair proceeds with a gray divorce.

Legal Assistance with Gray Divorce

While the legal process of divorce remains the same for older couples, spouses over 50 will have more to consider before they proceed with their dissolution of marriage. 

Our attorneys can help you through your divorce at any age. Call us for your consultation today: (631) 777-7200.

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