By Robert L. Mues   |   February 23rd, 2019

Rate Of “Gray Divorce” More Than Doubled For Couples Age 50 And Over

gray divorceWhen it comes to divorce, could gray be the new black? The divorce rate in the United States of couples age 50 and over has more than doubled. According to research conducted by I-Fen Lin and Susan Brown, in 1990 1 out of 10 people that went through a divorce was over 50 years or older. Presently 1 in 4 people who get divorced fall into the age bracket of 50 or over. The research showed that gray divorces aren’t just for older couples who have been married previously. In fact greater than half of gray divorces are with husbands and wives who have been married 20 years of more.

Tipper and Al Gore are a classic example of a gray marriage. Married for 40 years, and with 4 children, they had grown apart and decided to part ways. According to Tipper, there was no abuse or infidelity. Their marriage no longer brought them joy and they felt they were better apart.  Like the Gores, today people are just not willing to put up with a loveless marriage and expect more of a sense of fulfillment and happiness.

Hire An Experienced Divorce Attorney To Navigate The Complexities Of Gray Divorce

The shift in the rate of divorce for older couples has many factors to consider. First of all the stigma of divorce is not what it used to be. In fact, the Catholic Church and the Pope are reconsidering the church’s position on divorce. Women are making gains in the workplace and are not forced to stay in a bad marriage for economic reasons. Life expectancy is longer and many individuals are just not willing to stay in a meaningless relationship. The researchers cited the ease of online dating may be providing hope for older people to meet others and have a chance to develop a relationship with someone who enjoys the same activities and interests as they do.

If you do find yourself going through a gray divorce, you need to have experts on your team. As a divorce attorney for over 40 years, I highly recommend that you hire an experienced divorce attorney to help you navigate the course. What might start out as a “friendly” divorce, can often get ugly as emotions mount. You need to find an attorney who you can communicate with freely, and one who you feel will be your advocate. In addition to working out the terms of the divorce, asset division, financial responsibilities, etc., you will want to have an attorney draw up another will and redraw your estate plan. In addition to hiring an attorney you will want to consult with your financial advisor and or an accountant.

Gray Divorce A Good Thing?

Generally speaking, retirement accounts like other assets and debts are divided. Alimony may be offset against a retirement/pension plan. In a long term marriage, alimony may be granted for life. In any event, you will want to be aware of all the tax implications. Of course your home that you share will have to be valued and those assets split. If you should decide and agree that you will keep the home, it is important not to become “house-poor.” There is a lot to consider because of all of the costs associated with owning a home such as utilities, taxes and general maintenance expenses can cut into any monetary settlements you receive.  As you can see, these gray divorces can be very complicated.

Gray divorce can be a good thing. If you are feeling like your marriage makes you miserable and seems like a life sentence, a gray divorce may allow you to have a more rewarding and fulfilling life for the future. On the other hand, perhaps it would be better to channel your energy on working to improve the relationship you have and hopefully your spouse will do the same. As they say, “the grass is not always greener on the other side!”

We Would Welcome An Opportunity To Discuss Your Situation

The lawyers at Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues are committed to providing our clients with excellent individualized representation and sound legal advice. If you live in the Dayton or Southwestern Ohio area and are considering a divorce, please contact us at (937) 293-2141 or email us here. We would welcome an opportunity to discuss your situation.

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Robert L. MuesAbout The Author: Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog. Mr. Mues has also been a dog owner for 55+ years, and just recently, he and his wife are the owners of "Ralph", a rescued mixed Wire Hair and Jack Russell Terrier.

Gray Divorce Rates Continue to Rise!

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