3 Gray Divorce Expectations Worth Considering

By: Vernier & Associates, PLLC | Published 06/24/2024


Divorce has slowly become less common in the United States for all but one demographic of adults. Older adults over the age of 55 have seen a substantial increase in divorce rates over recent years. Those expecting more from their marriages and retirement years may decide that divorce is their best option.

The gray divorces that result are often more complex than divorces that involve younger spouses and shorter marriages, partially due to the following common challenges associated with this turn of events.

Complex property division issues
Marriages that last decades lead to substantial marital estates potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. When spouses share a well-funded retirement account, a home and a variety of other assets, finding a reasonable way to divide that property when they divorce can be quite challenging. Spouses often have very different ideas about what is fair or reasonable when it comes to dividing property marital property. They may also feel anxious about dividing retirement savings and home equity just before or during their retirement years.

Intense social reactions
Many divorcing couples expect their family to except their announcement of an impending divorce gracefully. They assume that their relatives should understand their decision to divorce rather than judging them for it.

Some people feel quite surprised when their adult children take sides in the divorce or refuse to talk to them anymore. Adult children whose parents divorce often have intense emotional reactions to those legal proceedings and are more likely than young adults to be able to make their feelings about the change in family circumstances known. They may blame one parent for the divorce. That can lead to a drastically different family dynamic.

Children are not the only ones who may react intensely to a divorce announcement. Someone’s broader social network may shift irrevocably after they file for divorce. The longer a couple remains married, the harder it can be for other people to accept the divorce without needing to lay blame on one party or the other.

Difficulty achieving independence
From concerns about qualifying for Medicare insurance benefits to feeling uncertain about certain elements of maintaining a home, there are many practical issues that those divorcing later in life have to address. Even acclimating to living without someone else sharing the home can be a major adjustment after decades of cohabitation. People going through a gray divorce may need to reach out for social support to help them with being difficult process of rebuilding after a long-term marriage. They may need to learn new skills or budget to hire outside help for certain tasks.

Spouses who approach a gray divorce in a pragmatic manner may be able to minimize their losses while optimizing their quality of life after the divorce. Understanding the common challenges people face during gray divorce can help people better prepare for the process.

Comments •
Article Categories
Articles by Month of Posting
Log In to Comment