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Understanding the Challenges of Gray Divorce (After Age 50)

By Sheryl Rentz on October 8, 2023

An older and grey haired couple sits on opposite sides of a couch.

Divorce isn’t easy at any age, but it presents unique challenges after a certain age. When older couples divorce, you may have been together for a long time. At this point, it’s daunting to start over and set out on your own.

Your lives are deeply connected, and there are many difficult adjustments you will have to make. In addition to the emotional strain, divorce also creates financial insecurity. It’s important to start developing new plans for your future.

What Is a Gray Divorce?

A gray divorce takes place after age 50. The number of gray divorces has skyrocketed over the last few decades, but these numbers have begun to level off. Divorce may have felt like it was unthinkable when you were younger, but attitudes have changed a lot, and it’s a lot more socially acceptable these days.

A gray divorce will have a major financial impact on both spouses. When you and your spouse are no longer pooling your resources, things become a lot more expensive. In fact, it’s up to 50 percent more costly to maintain two households instead of one.

After the divorce, you may have to reduce your expenses, and you’ll probably have less money to spend. You might decide to delay your retirement, and you could be required to re-enter the workforce. You may not be able to continue providing the same level of support to your children, and this can be hard, especially if they are still in school.

When planning your financial future after a gray divorce, you’ll want to consider the following factors:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Work experience
  • Custodial children
  • Living arrangements
  • Retirement planning

Division of Marital Property in a Gray Divorce

A major issue in any divorce is the division of marital property, and this is no different from a gray divorce. The longer you are married to someone, the more deeply connected your assets will be. You and your spouse will have to make a number of painful decisions about the property you own together.

When you live in a state like Pennsylvania that has equitable distribution laws, you aren’t guaranteed a percentage of the marital assets. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, a court will ultimately determine how the marital property will be divided. Everything is on the table, and your Montgomery County, PA divorce lawyers will have to fight to help you get a fair deal.

Except for gifts and inheritances that one of you has received, all possessions obtained during the marriage by you and your spouse are considered marital property, and they are subject to division. Items of indeterminate value, such as artwork, will have to be appraised and evaluated.

If you own a home together, you will have to decide whether one of the partners will be able to keep it or if it’s best to sell the home and split up the proceeds.

Both spouses are legally responsible for any debt incurred during the course of a marriage, including mortgages, student loans, and credit card debt.

Many of your possessions have sentimental value in addition to their monetary value, and this must be taken into account when dividing your assets.

Assets divided in a gray divorce may include:

  • Real estate
  • Pensions
  • Retirement accounts
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Furniture
  • Heirlooms
  • Bank accounts
  • Insurance policies
  • Antiques
  • Boats and RVs
  • Coins and collectibles
  • Social Security benefits
  • A family business
  • Patents, copyrights, and intellectual property

Need Legal Assistance with Divorce and Custody Issues?

At the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., we’ve been providing compassionate and effective legal services to divorce and family law clients in Pennsylvania for over 25 years. Sheryl R. Rentz was selected as a Top Attorney by Suburban Life Magazine, and she has a Superb rating from Avvo.

To schedule a FREE initial case review, give us a call at (610) 645-0100 today.

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