Gray divorce, a termed coined for couples over the age of 50 who choose to end their marriage, is on the rise in the United States. The divorce rate for this age group has doubled since 1990, and it is now higher than the divorce rate for couples under the age of 45.
There are a number of factors contributing to the rise of gray divorce, including:
- Increased life expectancy — People are living longer than ever before, which means that they have more time to spend in their marriages. However, it also means that they have more time to grow apart and develop different interests and goals.
- Changing gender roles — Women are more likely to be financially independent than they were in the past, which gives them more freedom to leave unhappy marriages.
- Rising divorce rates among younger generations — The divorce rate for couples under the age of 50 has been declining in recent years, but it is still relatively high. This means that more people are entering their 50s and 60s with experience of divorce, which may make them more likely to consider it again if their current marriage is not working.
Older couples have typically had time to accumulate significant assets and plan for the future, so there are unique considerations involved with disentangling finances. Some of these special financial considerations that you should keep in mind if you are divorcing later in life include:
- Retirement assets — Retirement savings are often the most valuable asset that a couple owns. Dividing retirement assets can be complex, and it is important to develop a plan that is fair to both spouses.
- Social Security benefits —If you have been married for at least 10 years, you may be eligible to receive spousal benefits based on your ex-spouse’s Social Security earnings, even if you are divorced. However, there are a number of factors that can affect your eligibility, such as your age and your own Social Security earnings.
- Health insurance — If you are covered by your spouse’s employer-sponsored health insurance plan, you may lose your coverage when you get divorced. You may be able to purchase your own health insurance plan through the individual market, but the premiums can be expensive.
- Long-term care insurance — Long-term care insurance can help to cover the cost of long-term care, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility. If you are divorced, you may need to purchase your own long-term care insurance policy.
An experienced divorce attorney can help you to navigate the complex financial issues involved in gray divorce by developing a plan for dividing your retirement assets, helping you understand your Social Security benefits and options, helping you obtain health insurance coverage and purchase long-term care insurance, if necessary.
At the Carolina Law Group, led by Tommy Kellis, we assists older client who are divorcing and looking to start a new chapter of their lives. To schedule a consultation, call 252-636-3737 or contact us online.