How are ‘gray divorces’ different from others?

While the overall divorce rate in the United States has seen some decline over the last 30 years, divorces for couples over 50 years old – so-called “gray divorces” – have steadily risen since 1990.

By some estimates, divorces later in life have doubled over the past three decades, while the rate is even higher for those over 65 – three times what it was in 1995.

Reasons for gray divorces

Experts say, over time, the stigma of divorce has diminished, making it more palatable for many spouses to end their marriages. But the main reasons are very different from divorcing younger couples, including:

  • People are living longer
  • With the children gone, they no longer have much in common
  • They have conflicting goals and dreams for their later years
  • They drifted apart
  • They want a change from a less-than-happy marriage
  • Both have worked hard and are financially independent

The financial complexities of gray divorces

While the reasons for divorce are different for Middle Tennessee spouses over 50, the financial considerations are typically much more complicated, especially for those with high net worth. Couples married more than 20 years can accumulate a ton of assets, such as:

  • Business ownership stakes
  • Pension plans and other retirement accounts
  • Employment bonuses
  • Stock options
  • Multiple real estate holdings
  • Executive compensation
  • Health insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Long-term care

Even airline miles or hotel points can be substantial for these couples and complicate discussions over dividing assets or determining alimony payments.

Don’t let emotion replace reason

Divorce can be especially devastating for spouses who have spent most of their lifetimes together. It can also be extremely difficult for children of any age. However, it’s crucial to focus on achieving the best financial outcome, especially for spouses who have been financially dependent upon their partners.

It’s advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who understands how to value and divide complex marital assets. Working with a lawyer who understands the intricacies of high-asset property division is vital for receiving a fair and equitable result to start your new life on firm ground.