When you hear the term “gray divorce,” you might think of the ambiguity or questionable circumstances surrounding a separation. This phrase actually refers to the increasingly common trend of separation among people over 55. Though the likelihood of divorce declines over time, according to the LA Times, one in four divorces involve couples over the age of 50. If you are either in the middle of or considering a gray divorce, there are four things in particular you should take into consideration.
1. Division of assets
Couples who have been married for decades are usually joined in more ways than one. Assets are one of the most important factors to take into consideration, and if you share a joint retirement account or savings, you will need to carefully decide how it will be split between both parties. Gray divorce can be more complicated in this area because older couples have generally accumulated more assets to consider.
2. Financial stability
In addition to the assets you share, you should consider the income you share. Are either or both of you retired? Whose money funds basic living expenses? These questions are important to answer when you are planning on separating. If you would need to get a job to replace your spouse’s income, divorce may not be as simple as you anticipate.
3. The emotional consequences
Divorce may be impulsive, but for most, it is a thought out and carefully considered decision. If you truly believe that separating from your spouse is your best option, you should be prepared for the emotional consequences. Though they may very well be worth your newfound freedom, consequences can include loneliness, loss of mutual friends and depression. If you prepare for this, though, you are less likely to succumb to the negative effects.
4. Living arrangements
Living arrangements are another practical concern that must be addressed when planning for divorce. Because gray divorce couples are likely to be homeowners, you may face complications in determining who is entitled to the domicile you share. This is especially true if you have a title with both your names on it. You should be prepared to get an apartment or move elsewhere in the event that your spouse maintains the home.
Gray divorce may pose some unique challenges, but it is the right choice for many couples. If you believe it is right for you, consulting with an attorney may help you better navigate some of the issues mentioned above.