U.S. adults 50 and older now make up 25 percent of the total of divorces each year. Double the rate it was in the 1990s, the so-called phenomenon is attributed to a variety of factors. Each marriage and divorce is different, but there are common of issues specific to couples over 50 that should be considered.
Common reasons for doing it include:
- The kids are grown and out of the house
- The family is financially secure enough so the split wouldn’t be a large financial setback
- People are living longer these days, and another 30 years with their spouse is too daunting to contemplate
- Starting a new life can provide a fresh sense of opportunity and enable an individual to hit the reset button
But it is just not that easy
Ideally, the split will be an amicable one, but it will still not be easy. Couples who have spent a lifetime together are intertwined by a marriage that includes a legal contract, financial issues, emotional support, a social circle and in other ways not yet contemplated. While checking the single box of a tax form may sound exciting, telling grandchildren will be difficult under the best of circumstances.
The trick is to weigh pros and cons
Speaking with an experienced family law attorney can provide valuable insights into the future for those contemplating a gray divorce. The circumstances will vary, but they can help illustrate what a potential financial outlook looks like (including how it affects the retirement plan) and provide insight based on experience gained from working with other older couples.