‘Gray divorce’ — getting divorced later in life — is on the rise. Here’s how an attorney says you should handle separation when you’re older.

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“Gray divorce,” also known as “silver splitter” or “diamond divorce,” is a term used to refer to the increasing trend of late-in-life divorces. This term first became mainstream in 2004, when AARP published a study on divorce at “midlife and beyond,” and is generally used to describe adults aged 50 or older who are going through a separation.

In 2015, every 10 out of 1,000 couples aged 50 and over got divorced, which was double what their divorce rate had been in 1990. And for those over 65, the increase was even higher — it had roughly tripled in 25 years. In fact, while the overall rate of divorce has continually declined since then, the divorce rate of people over 50 is increasing. 

Statistically, gray divorce is and continues to be on the rise, and not just in the United States. Canada, Japan, Australia, India, and the United Kingdom have reported increases in the last decade as well. While in recent years the discussion has become more prevalent online, this is a conversation that many divorce attorneys have grown familiar with for well over two decades. 

The rise of gray divorce can potentially be attributed to a variety of things: people are living longer, both spouses are working and are therefore becoming more financially independent, and the stigma associated with divorce has shifted significantly. If you’re going through a separation later in life, here’s what you need to know.

The differences between going through a gray divorce and getting divorced when you’re younger

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There may be some unique issues that you’ll need to address in addition to the standard concerns of a divorce at any age, such as equitable distribution and alimony. Some problems associated with “gray divorce” include division of retirement benefits, confusion over beneficiaries, more complicated marital estates to divide up, health insurance and Medicare benefits, healthcare expenses overall, and potentially more than one support obligation. Additionally, a financially dependent spouse may feel they need more support given the reduced likelihood of starting a career late in life, and a financially supporting spouse may be worried about their ability to keep up support payments as they slow down or retire.

The need for retirement benefits becomes more critical when you divorce later in life because people have less time to “make up” any losses they may face pursuant to a divorce. Understanding what benefits are available, and how they can be distributed, is paramount as you plan for a separate future. 

For example, a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, is one mechanism by which certain retirement plans can be divided. QDROs are often, but not always, necessary depending on the type of retirement plan being split. While you could expect QDROs to be seen in any divorce, it’s much more likely in gray divorces, where retirement accounts tend to be more significant.

For many gray divorces, custody is often not relevant to the discussion because the parties’ children are over the age of 18. However, there …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Life

      

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