Gray Divorce - The Silver Wave
Gray Divorce – The Silver Wave

Gray Divorce refers to an increasing divorce group that involves older couples who have been married 20-30+ years. This is becoming a common occurrence as boomers age and their offspring settle out on their own. Because the stigma of divorce has greatly diminished and older couples no longer have an obligation to young children, many couples are choosing to separate. Since 1990, the rate of divorce after age 50 has doubled. Gray Divorce cause some often-tricky circumstances especially when it concerns finances and assets.

The Great Divide

As couples flesh out and divide the assets, items such as debt, pensions, retirement accounts, and homes must be carefully divided in an equitable fashion. Most divorces are not as simple as a 50/50 split of assets. After years of union, there is certainly going to be a lot to divide. Even if the split is amicable, involve experts in the analysis and discussions.

​Many marriages/divorces of these couples include a spouse who for most of the marriage did not work. This introduces issues such as spousal support and possible re-entry into the workforce. These types of issues can put financial matters in dire straits. A study, by Brown and colleagues, in 2017 showed that 27% of women age 63 and older who went through a grey divorce were at the poverty level.

Benifits for Who

Additionally, Social Security benefits have their own set of rules. It is not automatic that a person will receive benefits based on the ex-spouse’s earnings record. Age restrictions and filing statuses apply, so it’s necessary to consult a social security administrator about your options.

Don’t Forget the Details

Lastly, do not forget to address your beneficiary designations and insurance policies. While oftentimes using these policies are to provide benefit or support. However, within the larger context of splitting the assets, forgetting or ignoring these designations can lead to more grief later. If you neglect to update the information, an ex-spouse could benefit unintentionally.

While this is an emotional time, it is advisable to approach the asset division as a business deal to ensure fairness. Reach out to professionals who can assist you through this difficult time.

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