What Is a Gray Divorce?

What Is a Gray Divorce?

The term gray divorce was initially coined in 2004 by The American Association of Retired Persons. A gray divorce involves two individuals over the age of 50 dissolving their marriage. Famous couples who have been involved in a gray divorce include:

  • Jeff Bezos & Mackenzie Scott
  • Mel & Robyn Gibson
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver
  • Billy Ray & Tish Cyrus
  • Bill & Melinda Gates

Gray Divorce: Its Reasons

In recent decades, gray divorces have been on the rise. Since 1990, the divorce rate for those 50 years of age or older has nearly doubled, and according to an article by Psychology Today, gray divorce rates will triple by 2030. The factors that influence older couples to divorce include:

  • Abuse. No one should have to endure abuse of any kind, especially from someone they love. After suffering verbal, mental, financial, physical, or emotional abuse, people take the steps to separate themselves from their abuser, including filing for divorce.
  • Addiction. If either party in a marriage is addicted to drugs, sex, pornography, gambling, etc., their dependency can influence their relationship with their partner (i.e fighting, issues with trust, etc.), finances, and more. The spouse who isn’t an addict may struggle to stay in the marriage if the other party does not seek help or repeatedly falls off the wagon.
  • Empty-nest syndrome. After a couple becomes empty nesters, they may struggle to connect again or feel disconnected now that their children are no longer a buffer.
  • Happiness. Women now have more autonomy, and as a society, we value happiness, self-fulfillment, and self-love (for everyone). Because of these changes, couples often do not feel obligated to stay in unhappy marriages or situations.
  • Increased lifespans. Because of our advancements in medicine and science, we have longer lifespans, which means that marriages and relationships can also last longer. However, the longer something last the most time spouses have to either grow together or grow apart. Sometimes, couples file for a gray divorce because they no longer want the same things out of life or their relationship.
  • Infidelity. If a partner is unfaithful, that betrayal can ruin a marriage (for a couple of any age). Whether the infidelity is physical or emotional, many people cannot build back the trust and safety in their relationship.

Pros & Cons of Gray Divorce

Just like other divorces, gray divorces have both pros and cons. The benefits of a gray divorce include:

  • Allowing each party the freedom to live life on their terms
  • Allowing each party to find a new or better love match

However, there are some drawbacks of gray divorces, including:

  • Having a negative impact on your children. Whether your children are minors or adults, they can be emotionally and financially affected by your divorce.
  • Causing you the loss of your health insurance. In many cases, spouses are on the same healthcare insurance plan. However, if one spouse is providing the other with the coverage, they will lose their health insurance after the divorce.
  • Having a complex division of property. If you and your spouse have been married for decades, that can complicate the property division process, because the longer you are together—the more assets you likely acquired. Who will get the house or the family business? Issues can even occur with separate property if the other party asserts that the asset was commingled.
  • Facing other financial concerns. In a gray divorce, there are a lot of financial concerns and implications, including the potential division of your retirement or social security benefits. Many gray divorcees also face challenges because they inadequately budget and prepare financially for their post-divorce life.

Are you filing for divorce later in life? The attorneys at Kallen Law Firm are equipped to help you successfully navigate your gray divorce. To schedule a free consultation, contact our team online or via telephone (314) 441-7793.