Gray divorce brings risks and opportunities in later life
Financial risks abound for spouses who are unprepared for divorce over 50
According to Time, the Divorce Practice rate has been dropping for every age group in recent years except for older couples. In fact, so-called 'gray divorce' has become so prevalent nowadays that one in four people who are currently going through a divorce are over 50 years of age. The rise of gray divorce has been attributed to a number of factors, including longer life expectancies and changing attitudes towards marriage. The phenomenon, however, requires spouses to be prepared for divorce in later life, especially since gray divorce carries a number of financial risks.
Why gray divorce is on the rise
There is plenty of controversy about why divorce has been rising so steadily for people over 50 even as it has been going down for younger people. Analysts say that an increased life expectancy could be at least partially behind the increasing number of divorces. With people retiring at 65, for example, the prospect of spending 20 to 30 years in retirement with someone who they don't particularly like anymore may be a little too much of a burden to bear.
Social attitudes towards divorce are also changing. While in the past divorce was often taboo in many communities, nowadays it is seen as a reasonable option for individuals to ensure their happiness in later life. In addition, no-fault divorce, which is currently offered in every state, allows spouses to divorce without unnecessary finger pointing or guilt.
While gray divorce does give older individuals opportunities to better enjoy their golden years, it is important to realize that there are serious risks associated with divorcing later in life. People going through a gray divorce need to ensure that they will be well supported financially in later life, especially since they often will not have an opportunity to rebuild their bank accounts if something goes wrong.
As CNBC reports, many divorcing spouses will want to get a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) from a court as soon as possible. A QDRO will help divide a 401(k) or pension after a divorce. In addition, spouses need to be careful about what assets they fight for after a divorce. While many people, for example, set their sights on keeping the marital home, in many cases giving up the home for the sake of other financial assets, such as investment accounts, may make more sense long term.
Legal advice during divorce
Because a divorce order can be so difficult to modify after the fact and property divisions cannot be modified, it is absolutely vital for older divorcing couples to get their divorce right the first time around. Former spouses who find that they have much less support than they need after a marriage because of a poorly crafted divorce could be in for significant trouble later in life.
A qualified family law attorney can provide invaluable advice for spouses considering or already in the process of a divorce. With expert legal advice, clients will have the confidence they need to approach their divorce in a prudent and responsible manner.