The overall number of people who file for divorce has gone down overall in recent decades. However, the so-called “grey divorce” phenomenon is one age group that continues to see its numbers rise. Referring to couples 55-years-old and up, grey divorce often involves some unique financial challenges that are critical when negotiating a divorce agreement or litigating the matter before a judge.
Couples in their 30s or 40s are often worried about money and support, but parenting plans and custody must often get addressed. Since children are grown or close to it, equitably dividing assets becomes the priority. It is especially crucial to address this issue for a variety of reasons.
Key matters to address
Each marriage will have its issues, but essential grey divorce matters to consider include:
- Earning potential: Younger couples may both work, or the spouse who stayed home may still have marketable skills. There may be limited job prospects for someone who has not worked outside the home in 20 or 30 years, meaning that they are entitled to a larger portion of the marital assets.
- Closing window: Couples in their 50s or above are likely looking at a small window to prepare for retirement as a single person. They may face a mandatory retirement age or be forced to work longer if they have financial goals to meet before retirement.
- Retirement plans: These will likely be an older couple’s most significant asset, which could involve tax penalties if the couple needs to withdraw money early from them. Also, the savings goals were based on a couple living together rather than each spouse setting up their residence.
- The home: Couples with large family homes need to evaluate whether it is financially wise to keep or sell the home and whether it is better to sell it before the divorce or later.
Planning for the future is essential
With some much riding on the finances, it is often crucial for couples who divorce to work with an attorney with experience representing clients who face the above issues. These legal professionals can find equitable solutions to dividing assets, keeping retirement plans on track and handling other matters specific to the couple’s circumstances.