gray divorce

Common Issues with Gray Divorces

One surprising trend that has popped up in the world of divorce law is the gray divorce. Gray divorce, which refers to splits among couples in their mid-fifties or older, has increased rapidly in recent years. This trend spans a wide range of countries, including the United States.

There are numerous reasons that gray divorce seems to be on the rise. With longer lifespans every year, people in unhappy marriages are often less willing to “tough it out” when they still have decades ahead of them.

Those who sacrificed their youth in an unhappy marriage for the benefit of their children may be ready to live for themselves and find out what makes them happy. Others may have found that they have grown apart from their spouse in the midst of building a career and raising a family.

For those facing a gray divorce, there are some unique issues that aren’t quite the same as they are in divorces among younger couples. Learn more about these concerns, and when you’re ready to move forward with your divorce, call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500.

More Valuable Assets

Many aging couples simply have a greater variety of assets and higher valued assets than their younger counterparts. When a couple has had decades to build a portfolio together, they’re simply more likely to have high-value property. This can be difficult during the divorce process, as both parties may feel like they have a claim to what they have built over the years. As a result, the negotiation of the division of assets may take much longer—and be much more expensive.

Spousal Support

When a marriage lasts decades, spousal support is far more likely to be awarded. This often leads to fighting between the spouses, as the higher-earning spouse may feel like they shouldn’t have to subsidize their ex-partner’s life for the rest of their life.

On the other hand, the spouse who sacrificed their earning opportunities in order to support the other’s career may not feel like they should have to start from scratch when they are close to retirement age. Spousal support may become a point of contention during the divorce.

Emotional Attachment to Assets

While people may develop emotional attachments to any assets, this generally refers to real estate. The marital home may be a place with decades of happy memories for both spouses, full of memorabilia from the kids growing up. The marital home may even be a common gathering place for the kids when they visit.

For some couples, this makes it hard to decide who gets the house. Further complicating matters, couples may have family heirlooms or antiques that are hard to part with.

Health Issues and Health Insurance

Even if both parties are in great health at the time of the divorce, the likelihood of health problems only increases with age. For this reason, it’s important for both spouses to plan for future health expenses. If one party is already affected by health issues, that is likely to affect their earning potential and health expenses, which may change how assets are divided.

This issue is especially contentious if the couple has one working partner and one homemaking partner. The homemaking partner may be unable to secure good health insurance without paying a hefty monthly fee through the Marketplace, which is something to consider when calculating spousal support and dividing up assets.

Retirement Accounts

When a couple divorces near or past retirement age, their retirement accounts are a far more valuable asset than they are for younger divorcing couples. When the costs of retirement are sneaking up on you in a matter of years or months, rather than decades, securing the means you need to live without working becomes a lot more important. Add that to the fact that retirement accounts that have been earning interest for decades could easily be worth millions. Plan on extensive negotiations in this area.

Get the Advice You Need with Kirk Drennan Law

While gray divorce comes with its own issues and concerns, it’s not impossible—especially when you have an experienced divorce attorney fighting for you. Schedule a consultation with the team at Kirk Drennan Law now to get started. You can reach us online or call us at 205-803-3500.

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