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"Gray Divorce" on the Rise in the U.S.

There is currently a growing divorce among baby-boomers in the United States. These "gray divorces" often involve couples who have been together for decades, and despite having lived a large portion of their lives together, decide that it is time to move on.

It almost seems counterintuitive that couples together for decades would suddenly file for divorce, but there are many reasons why couples may end their marriage.

Children of older couples are usually grown, so there is no need to stay together for the sake of the children. Also, many women are financially independent and do not rely on their husbands for financial support.

Considerations Specific to Gray Divorce

When involved in a divorce, older couples simply have different concerns than their younger counterparts. For example, disputes involving child custody or child support are generally non-existent since the children are usually adults.

Most of the issues for older divorcing couples concern financial matters. After decades of marriage, older couples have often accumulated a substantial amount of assets, including homes, businesses and retirement plans. Not only can the process of valuing these assets be complex, but the subsequent sale and transfer of these assets due to the divorce may create additional tax obligations. Often, a financial expert is needed to assist in the valuing and sale of assets.

Another financial consideration in gray divorces is the ability to re-accumulate wealth after divorce. Younger couples have years to rebuild assets, but older individuals considering divorce must assess whether they can still retire on half of what they originally planned on.

A final consideration for older couples thinking about divorce include the need to review, and often times re-draft wills, trusts and medical directives or living wills.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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