As the name might imply, a “Gray” divorce is a divorce between spouses who are older. But it is as much about the issues involved when older couples divorce, as their age.  Thus, spouses in their 50s with retirement accounts and grown children are included in this same category of divorce.

What is Driving the Increase in Gray Divorces?

No-fault divorce has made at-fault divorces obsolete. Instead of having to give a reason for divorcing in their senior years, spouses simply need to cite irreconcilable differences. This avoids the embarrassment and hostility that can come from alleging cause for the divorce like infidelity or abandonment.  A spouse may no longer want to spend their golden years in an unhappy marriage. The no-fault decree prevents the courts from questioning the reasons for the separation and allows for a potentially smoother divorce proceeding.

How Are Gray Divorces Different?

Gray divorces raise many issues that do not arise in divorces of younger couples. Some issues in a gray divorce could include:

  • Spousal Support: Several factors used to decide spousal support are more likely to favor long-term spousal support in a gray divorce. For example, a judge will consider the length of the marriage, the opportunities of the spouse to enter the workforce, and the contribution that one spouse made to support the other’s career. One spouse may have abandoned a career to support the other and cannot start over at this point in their life.
  • Retirement Accounts: Over their working lives, the spouses may have built significant retirement accounts. These accounts must be divided in the divorce.
  • Children: Most gray divorces involve grown children, so child custody and child support are not at issue. Adult children can complicate property division and alimony, particularly when they use one parent against the other to potentially get what they want.

Benefits of Using Collaborative in a Gray Divorce

Older couples get the same benefits from Collaborative Divorce as younger couples, but since older couples usually have different priorities, the Collaborative Divorce process will often meet their needs better than a contested divorce.

One benefit of Collaborative Divorce is that it can avoid turning the divorce into a spectacle. Older couples, in general, place a higher value on their privacy.  Collaborative Divorce gives couples greater control over the information that reaches the public or in social media circles.

Another major benefit of the Collaborative Divorce process is the financial neutral. The financial neutral is a specialist who provides an objective picture of the couple’s finances. The financial neutral will help develop post-divorce budgets and financial scenarios that facilitates the collaboration between the parties in resolving property division and spousal support.

Gray divorce is a reminder that a couple can separate at any stage of a marriage, but by using the Collaborative Divorce process, this type of a divorce can be completed privately and inexpensively, so that both spouses can enjoy their senior years.

If you are considering divorce and would like to know what your options are, contact us at Kim Mediation and Law Center for a free 15-minute phone consultation.