Older Spouses often face Complex Financial Issues During Gray Divorce

“Gray divorce” is a term that is widely used to refer to divorce after the age of 50, which has become increasingly common over the last two decades. Gray divorce is often a financial setback, and reaching settlements that fairly divide property and address alimony can be difficult during these divorces.  During these divorces, people in Louisville may avoid certain highly contested aspects of divorce, such as agreeing on child custody and visitation. However, this doesn’t mean these divorces are free of complications. Divorce later in life can be financially devastating, so it is crucial for spouses to plan carefully and secure a financially fair settlement.

Financial challenges

As USA Today explains, a few factors can create financial stress during gray divorce. People who divorce at more mature ages are often near retirement, with little time to make up for divorce expenses and increased costs of living alone. Problematically, funding two separate retirements can cost up to 50 percent more per person than financing a joint retirement. Some older adults, including those who previously left the workforce, may also have fewer earning opportunities reasonably available.

According to The Chicago Tribune, one ongoing study helps demonstrate the financial toll that gray divorce can take. This research reveals that the poverty rate is just 4 percent among married couples who are at least 62 years old. However, 14 percent of divorced men in this age group live in poverty, as do 30 percent of divorced women. These statistics underscore why it is essential for spouses to secure an appropriate division of property and reasonable alimony awards during gray divorce.

Legal complications

Regardless of whether a gray divorce is amicable or contested, arriving at an appropriate settlement may be challenging. A fair division of marital property must take into account all marital property and any separate property that spouses hold. Similarly, alimony awards should reflect the financial resources of each spouse, among other factors. According to The New York Times, the following issues may complicate property valuation:

  • For older spouses, complex assets, such as pensions and retirement plans, may represent a larger proportion of overall assets. Correctly appraising these assets and dividing them may prove challenging.
  • Compared to younger couples, older couples often have accrued more overall assets. This can make inventorying and valuating these assets a much more involved process.
  • People who are ending long-term marriages may feel greater depression and other adverse emotions. This may impede these spouses in focusing on the financial and pragmatic aspects of their divorces.

The same source states that it is typically advisable for spouses to partner with attorneys and financial professionals to navigate gray divorces. This can help spouses avoid agreeing to settlements that are disadvantageous or likely to lead to financial distress.

Settlement options

In Kentucky, spouses may navigate the divorce settlement process in various ways. Spouses may directly decide property division and alimony obligations with post-nuptial agreements. To be enforceable, these agreements must be based on accurate information and deemed reasonably fair. Spouses who cannot come to terms may also have these issues settled in family law court. In that case, it is essential for spouses to accurately portray their resources and needs to the court.

In either situation, the assistance of a family law attorney may be invaluable to people who are preparing for gray divorces. An attorney may be able to offer advice on the various legal options and work with a spouse to protect his or her financial interests.

Contact Experienced Louisville Gray Divorce Attorneys

The experienced divorce and family law attorneys at Dodd & Dodd Attorneys, PLLC invite you to contact us or call (502) 609-7657 to speak with us regarding your unique situation.