Legal Counsel for Older Couples Seeking a Divorce

Divorce is never an easy thing, and when an older couple decides to end their marriage, the challenges can be particularly difficult. While there are a host of issues to be resolved, the resolution of financial issues can be especially perplexing.
That said, divorce among couples over the age of 50 is increasing in the U.S., while the overall divorce rate has declined in the past 20 years. Currently, about one-fourth of the couples seeking a divorce are in the 50- and-over demographic. and this phenomenon has given rise to the term, “gray divorce.”

What is Gray Divorce?

Gray divorce refers, as you might surmise, to those who are 50 and older who have decided for whatever reason or reasons to end their marriage relationship and go their separate ways. Many of those making this choice are members of the Baby Boomer generation born in the years following the end of World War II, 1945 – 1964.

Why the Increase in Gray Divorce?

There are several factors that help explain the growing divorce rate among older Americans.

Changing Interests and Attitudes

After 20 or more years of marriage, older couples sometimes find that over the years as individuals they have changed and no longer feel as compatible with their partner as they did when much younger.
This is often the case with those known as “empty nesters,” couples whose children have grown and gone on with their own lives. For some, raising their children was a reason not to end a marriage. With child raising now accomplished, however, and with divorce no longer carrying the social stigma it once did, they may decide it is time to part.

Longer Life Expectancy

Stated briefly, as life expectancy increases in the U.S, individuals nearing retirement can easily look forward to 20 to 30 or more years of retirement living. If their marriage has frayed over the years, many might well question why they should spend these years in an unhappy relationship. Instead, why not face up to reality and end the marriage so that each party can enjoy their remaining years the way they truly want to live them.

Divorce Attorney in Rockford, IL for Gray Divorce

Complex Issues Involved in a Gray Divorce

While no one can fault an older couple who decides their best interests can be served by ending their marriage, it should be pointed out that a late-in-life divorce can easily raise a host of difficult issues to be resolved.
Some of these include the following.
• Your lifestyle in retirement – When a marriage ends, one household now becomes two households. Given this reality, you may need to delay your retirement, find another source of income during retirement, or accept the fact that your lifestyle must change.
• Social Security – In some cases, a spouse may be able to get part of their spouse’s Social Security benefits, but in all likelihood that will end if the recipient spouse remarries.
• Division of Assets – Over the years, a couple may have amassed a considerable amount of assets, and decisions must be made on the division of these. With regard to assets, Illinois is not a community property state where assets are divided 50-50 down the middle. Instead, Illinois is an equitable property state, meaning the court will divide assets on the basis of what it thinks is fair and not on the basis of an even split down the middle.
• Income and spousal support – This issue often comes up at the end of a long-term marriage. How will each party to the divorce maintain an income stream? Will one party have to pay alimony to the other, or will retirement income be divided in some equitable fashion?
• Insurance – Health insurance can be extremely important for older individuals, and you cannot remain on your spouse’s health insurance after you’re divorced. You can remain on it, however, if you agree to a legal separation, rather than a divorce, and that is something that may need to be considered.
• Late-in-life considerations – These would include matters such as changing your will and estate planning and making arrangements for long-term care, if needed.

Experienced Legal Assistance from the Attorneys at Crosby & Crosby Law

This brief summary provides some insight into the many potential pitfalls of a gray divorce,and to avoid these we recommend that you secure the legal assistance of experienced divorce attorneys.
At Crosby & Crosby Law, we have that experience, and based on our knowledge of the many issues involved in a gray divorce, we will build a divorce team to guide you through every step of the process.
We will be glad to meet with you, consider the merits of your situation and prepare a course of action going forward.

Your initial consultation is free and confidential, and we urge you to reach out today to the family law firm of Crosby & Crosby Law to schedule an appointment.