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Financial Considerations in a Gray Divorce

What Is Gray Divorce?

Gray (or grey) divorce (also referred to as a late-life divorce) refers to the dissolution of a marriage involving spouses over age 50. Divorce rates, in general, are on the rise, and according to a Pew Research report, gray divorces have tripled for people aged 65 and older and doubled for those over age 50.

Common reasons couples file for gray divorce include:

  • Growing apart
  • Falling out of love
  • Disagreeing on how to spend, save, or manage their money
  • Having incompatible sex drives
  • Experiencing empty nest syndrome (which refers to the sadness, grief, or emotional distress parents experience when their children leave their homes)
  • Suffering after either spouse’s infidelity
  • Having vastly different lifestyles (in their post-retirement lives)

Financial Issues in a Gray Divorce

During your divorce, you must make a lot of decisions that can impact your future financial health concerning alimony, the family home and/or business, estate planning matters, and more. In a gray divorce, there are unique concerns since couples have typically been married for a long time.

Important financial concerns in gray divorce include (but are not limited to):

  • The division of assets and debts. If you are getting a gray divorce, it can be a large undertaking to divide your marital estate. In Pennsylvania, marital property will be divided equitably, not equally or 50/50 (see Penn. Consolidated Statute § 3502). To protect your interests and ensure you walk away with what you want, you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse should consider negotiating a property settlement agreement yourself. If left to the court, they will consider the length of your marriage and the standard of living each party is accustomed to (as well as several other factors) during the equitable distribution of your property.
  • Alimony. Whether you are the spouse who needs or may have to pay alimony, this can be a complex issue during a gray divorce. Payees may be worried about having to pay the other party with a limited income, while recipients may have to worry about how long they will receive support payments. While permanent alimony is rarely awarded, the duration of alimony orders will be set based on your case circumstances (if left to the court). Under Penn. Consolidated Statute § 3701(b), the court will use the following factors when making determinations concerning alimony: each party’s income and earning potential, assets and debts, age, educational and employment background, health (physical, mental, and emotional), alternative sources of income (retirement, insurance, etc.), specific needs, and martial conduct as well as the duration of the marriage.
  • Social security benefits. If you or your spouse are over 62 years old, have been married for 10 or more years, and your ex is receiving Social Security benefits, you can claim benefits based on your spouse’s earning record. In some cases, you may be able to collect half of your spouse’s benefits; in other cases, you may be able to defer payments until you reach retirement age.
  • Insurance. If you and your partner were on the same insurance plan, you will likely have to find and invest in a new coverage plan. You should investigate insurance options as soon as possible, especially if you are on your spouse’s employment-based policy; healthcare can be quite expensive without insurance. Those over 65 years old or who are no longer working can apply for Medicare.

Retain Our Firm Today

At William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys, our legal team is here to help you successfully navigate your gray divorce. Once you retain our team, we can work to protect your financial future by advising you on how certain decisions can have an impact on your post-divorce finances and offering you our unbiased, professional opinion.

Having the right attorney can make or break your case, and you need a reliable, experienced attorney to help you walk away from your divorce financially secure. Our skilled divorce attorney offers clients:

  • Attentive, personalized legal counsel
  • Objectivity during what may be a stressful, highly emotional time for you
  • Nearly two decades of legal experience that they can have on their side

To schedule a case consultation, call (215) 515-9901 or complete this contact form.