Gray divorce, commonly defined as divorce among those ages 50 and older, has become more common over the past decade. As first identified in a study by the AARP, this age group has special considerations when ending a marriage as retirement approaches.
Review these concerns if you have thought about separating from your spouse in your later years.
For many couples in their 50s, 60s and beyond, retirement investments represent their highest-value asset. When one person stayed home to raise children or earned much more money than the other spouse, conflicts about dividing retirement investments fairly often arise. To divide a retirement account, spouses need the court to issue a qualified domestic relations order.
In addition to retirement savings, couples who have been together for several decades often share extensive assets. They likely own a home together and may have other real estate, collections, art, land or even a shared business. Property division becomes even more complex at the end of a second or subsequent marriage, particularly when both spouses have children from other relationships and together.
Updating one’s estate is an important step in any divorce, but particularly for older adults. Otherwise, your inheritance could go to your former spouse or even to his or her adult children rather than your own children or other intended beneficiaries.
Keeping these three considerations in mind can help you protect your interests when planning for a so-called gray divorce. Creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement also guides these complex decisions if divorce occurs.