Gray divorce is when a couple ends their marriage when they are over the age of 50. Occurrences of this type of divorce are rising as couples start to realize there is less social stigma around it, according to Forbes.
When couples divorce later in life, they have unique concerns that younger couples may not have. After all, they often have longer marriages and have different goals than other couples.
These couples are closer to retirement, so protecting and handling retirement accounts in a gray divorce becomes a huge focus. Each partner wants to be sure that he or she can proceed as planned with retirement. Yet, in many cases, those plans have to change as courts often split retirement accounts as part of property division.
It is possible for couples to negotiate outside of court to exchange property instead of splitting retirement assets. In most cases, though, they have no choice but to divide the accounts, which could leave one spouse without the money he or she needs to retire on time.
One spouse working
It is more common in older couples that one spouse worked while the other stayed home to take care of the children. In many instances, after the kids grew up, the spouse continued to remain at home. In these cases, the non-working spouse may not have the skills, education or training that allows him or her to find a job that can provide adequate support after the divorce. This may lead to issues with spousal support that they must work out in their divorce agreement.
Beyond retirement accounts, the property division aspects of a gray divorce are often intricate. Since the average couple has had a long marriage, it is tricky to prove that any particular asset is not marital property. So, it is typical for couples to have to divide everything. This includes debts, which often add another layer of complexity.