Separation and divorce can be difficult at any stage in life, but when a divorce begins when you are older, additional issues may arise. A gray divorce refers to men and women who file for divorce after age 50. Although the overall divorce rate has declined in the United States, the rate of divorce for older couples has doubled over the last 30 years. If you are facing a divorce as an older person, it is important to keep a few key considerations in mind.
Reasons for a Gray Divorce
Gray divorcees are often known as diamond splitters or silver splitters. When the term gray divorce was first coined, it was used to refer to couples who divorced after being married for 40 years or more—or when their hair had started to turn gray. Today, gray divorce usually refers to divorces among baby boomers, regardless of how long they have been married or the color of their hair.
There are many reasons why older people are divorcing at higher rates than in the past, including the following.
- Growing apart: After being married for decades, it is not uncommon for couples to grow apart emotionally and romantically. Older couples may realize they have lost the spark that they began their relationships with and decide that divorce is the best path forward.
- Infidelity: Cheating can occur in many relationships, and among baby boomers, infidelity is one of the top reasons to file for divorce. With the availability of online dating and mobile apps targeted directly toward married people, some may feel tempted to be unfaithful to their partners.
- Empty nest syndrome: After adult children leave the home, an older couple may struggle to adjust to life without all of the extra activities that accompany a family. They may spend more time at home and realize how much they have changed since raising their children. In these situations, the couple may realize they have grown apart and choose to file for divorce.
- Financial issues: One of the biggest contributing factors in many divorces is money problems. Issues with finances can lead to serious stress and trigger many fights, and couples who struggle with debt often end their marriages. Overspending or earning disparities may also trigger marital problems.
The Impact of a Gray Divorce
If you are filing for divorce as an older person, it is important to be aware of the financial and emotional impact of the divorce process. Indiana is an equitable division state, meaning that you and your spouse will need to determine how to divide your assets in a way that is fair to both parties. This can mean an even split, but it can also mean providing more assets to a spouse who makes less money or has less earning potential than the other. As an older couple, you will likely have more assets and benefits to divide, such as life insurance, retirement accounts, social security payments, and inheritance.
Additionally, transitioning to unmarried life can be difficult as an older person. You will need to adjust to life without your spouse, find a new place to live, and learn to branch out and enjoy new activities and friendships. Although many older people adjust to these changes with no issues, this is not the case for everyone.
In these situations, you need an Indiana divorce lawyer on your side. Your lawyer can guide you through the divorce process, advocate for your best possible outcome during mediation, and provide the support you need. Contact an Indianapolis divorce lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.