What Is a Gray Divorce?

People can get divorced at any age and at any phase of marriage. In fact, with people living longer, among other factors, many are getting divorced later on in life. The trend of those of the older population has gone up in years so much so that the term “gray divorce” has developed.

What is a Gray Divorce?

A “gray divorce” refers to a divorce involving spouses generally past the age of 50 or so. While divorce rates have seen some decline over the past decade, those over the age of 50 have seen a spike in divorce rates. The reasons for this have long been speculated upon.

One of the most common reasons supporting the increase in gray divorces is the fact that people are living longer. On top of this, both spouses are more likely to be working and, therefore, financially independent of each other. There is also the fact that any kind of stigma that used to surround divorce has dissipated greatly.

Other potential reasons for the increase in gray divorces is the fact that those who have once divorced are more likely to get divorced again. Multiple marriages and multiple divorces mean that some of those divorces are going to happen later in life. Also, it is pretty common for one spouse or both spouses to put off divorce until children are grown up and have moved off on their own. The spouse or spouses will choose to remain together until the children are raised and then divorce later in life. In some cases, however, divorce has not been postponed, but, when the kids leave the family home, a spouse or both spouses realize the marriage was built so much on being parents that it is not strong enough to survive the empty nest phase.

Divorcing later in life can present unique challenges that may not be as relevant to those divorcing when they are younger. Those who are considering a gray divorce should be prepared for these specific challenges and practical implications. For instance, each spouse should consider things like healthcare and insurance availability when divorcing later in life. Those who divorce later in life, but prior to the age in which they would qualify for Medicare, need to consider the costs associated with health insurance. After divorce, you are unable to remain on your former spouse’s insurance policy. This means that you will need to consider the affordability as well as the availability of health insurance coverage for yourself.

Another big consideration for divorcing later in life includes retirement savings. It costs more for two people to live apart than together. Retirement savings that may have supported the costs of living with your spouse may not suffice for you living on your own. Older couples who are divorcing need to take a good look at how it will impact retirement. The divorce could mean deferring retirement to later than planned for. It could also mean having to substantially reduce their standard of living.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

No matter what stage of life you are in, Orlando Family Team remains committed to providing you trusted divorce counsel that takes your individual circumstances into account. We are always here to represent and protect your best interests. Contact us today.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.