Gray divorce is a term used to describe a divorce that happens when either you or your spouse is over 50 years old. According to Market Watch, approximately 25% of divorces in the United States involve older couples, and while the divorce rate is declining overall, it is increasing for this age group.
Some issues that frequently arise in divorces among younger couples may not be an issue in a gray divorce. For example, your children may already have grown up and gone to college. If this is the case, there is no longer any need to think about child support, custody or funding their education. However, gray divorce can introduce other issues that are either completely unique or more urgent than they would have been if you had divorced when you were younger.
After many years in the family home, you may have a sentimental attachment to it. However, it may not make sense for you to keep it and assume all the financial responsibility for it. It may make more sense for you and your spouse to sell the home and split the proceeds.
You may currently have coverage under your spouse’s policy, but that arrangement probably will not continue after your divorce. If you divorce in your early 50s, it could be over a decade before you qualify for Medicare coverage. In the interim, it can be a challenge to find affordable health coverage.
A gray divorce now can disrupt, or at least change, your plans for your retirement. It may affect your Social Security benefits, your retirement funds and, if you and your spouse own a business together, your succession plans.