The number of couples under 50-years-old who are ending their marriages have leveled off over recent years. However, the divorce rate for spouses over the age of 50 has more than doubled since 1994. Unique issues are present in any given "grey" divorce, especially with property division and what these couples face after their marriages end.
There are several causes underlying this trend. People are living longer. Other factors include women earning higher incomes and facing less economic consequences if their marriages end. Online dating and other activities make meeting a new partner easier. Some couples, simply decide that they have grown apart and want to live independently.
Because of the likelihood of having more assets and a long-term relationship, these couples face some different issues. First, there is a greater likelihood of rehabilitative spousal support being ordered until the recipient spouse can organize their post-divorce life. After long-term marriages, alimony may be provided for life.
Retirement assets are usually divided in half. However, pension plans may be used to lower spousal support payments, but there may be tax consequences.
The family house is an important and major asset in property division negotiations. The spouse who elects to keep the house must consider maintenance costs, taxes and utilities, which can turn this property into a financial liability. Couples may also consider selling this asset and allocating its profits.
Unfortunately, grey divorce also requires a dose of skepticism about remarriage, because these are also likely to end up in divorce. Before marrying again, couples should consider entering a prenuptial or matrimonial agreement to address some of the unique complications posed by adult children, blended families and other assets. Wills and policy beneficiaries should also be updated.