Over the past 20 years or so there has been a shift in the demographics in divorce rates. As baby boomers mature, the divorce rate among couples over the age of 50 has seen a sharp increase as compared to previous generations. In fact, during the 20 years between 1990 and 2010 the divorce rate involving people in their 50s and older doubled, according to The Sioux City Journal.
A researcher at Bowling Green University says that roughly one in four couples going through divorce are age 50 or older. The phrase gray divorce has been bandied about among commentators for years. However, it is important to note that, like any family law problem, there is no one-size-fits all solution in a gray divorce.
Focusing on age in creating the demographic category of a gray divorce is a true sign of the many differences that can be involved. Some couples have been married for many years and once the kids have left to build their own lives, the parents grow apart. Other couples may have been married for a relatively short period of time. Second and third marriages (or more) can end in divorce.
Retirement And Property Division Should Be Considered
There are some challenges that may be associated with a gray divorce that are not as prominent for people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Property division arrangements, for example, can take on a different dimension in middle income and high asset households. With the potential for retirement in the near future becoming more probable, equity in the home may not be as attractive as other types of assets. For second and third marriages, tracing marital assets and separate property is vitally important in determining a proper distribution of property.
Divorce planning for a person age 50 or older needs to include thoughtful consideration of the costs, tax consequences, as well as the value of assets in deciding what arrangement may be better suited for retirement. Traditionally, who gets the family home was a strong focus of many divorce disputes. After the housing market crash, that may have shifted. Even when a home has significant equity, the cost of maintaining the property may not be as attractive of other potential assets, such as investment accounts and IRAs.
Divorce is not easy at any age, and emotions can create contentious disputes. It is critical to work with a skilled family law attorney who has the financial acumen and resources to help you protect your future financial stability.