While divorce rates overall have slowed or even declined for some age groups, so-called “gray divorces” have risen by 109% in the past quarter-century. Studies show that in 1990, fewer than one in 10 divorces involved people over 50.
The research shows that more than half of all gray divorces involve couples that have been married for more than 20 years. Experts point to many reasons, including people living longer, the stigma of divorce isn’t as great as it used to be and the rise of economic independence for women.
Financial considerations for a gray divorce
If you are considering divorce after the age of 50, there are things you should know about the process to prepare yourself for the financial side of your new life, including:
- Alimony: Judges usually grant alimony after a long-term marriage, basing the amount on the receiving ex-spouse’s financial needs after the divorce, among other factors.
- Retirement funds: New Jersey and Pennsylvania are equitable distribution states, meaning assets acquired during a marriage are “fairly” distributed by a judge based on the length of the marriage, spousal contributions, the ability for future earnings and more. Those assets include pensions, 401(k)s and other retirement accounts.
- Family home: The home shared by divorcing couples is considered an asset that will be valued and split. If you keep the house, make sure you can afford taxes, utility costs, mortgage payments and other related expenses.
- Prenup: Statistics show remarriages are also likely to end in divorce for people over 50, so consider a prenuptial agreement to address potential financial and family issues.
Seek legal guidance if you are considering a gray divorce
Fewer older couples are staying together if they feel they are no longer living fulfilling lives. Many want a fresh start but are not sure they will be able to survive financially by themselves. If you are considering divorce, an experienced family law attorney in New Jersey and Pennsylvania can protect your interests and help you understand your rights in seeking a reasonable settlement to help you begin your new life.