What Are Grey Divorces?

Are you prepared for this primary consideration when going through a later in life divorce?

A grey divorce is a term used to describe the recent trend of increasing divorces among individuals within their 50s or older. A recent Globe and Mail article reports divorces for this age group rose from 4% to 12% in the last 40 years. The statistics also indicated that one in five couples nearing age 60 were either separated or divorced.

The main difference between divorcing at different ages is the main priorities discussed during the divorce process. For younger couples, issues like earning power and the needs of children impact spousal and custody arrangements. For older couples, each party may be at their peak earning capacity, so spousal support may not be an issue. Also, many older couples have adult children, so custody arrangements are also not necessary.

Important Considerations

Instead, the main issue often facing older couples when negotiating a divorce is retirement. Many couples are concerned about their retirement plans and financial stability heading into their golden years. Generally speaking, older couples have accumulated more wealth by the time they reach their 50s and are much closer to the age when they will need to access their retirement funds.

The article noted above goes on to describe the financial challenges of working with one financial advisor versus two when separating assets. The same concerns can be applied to seeking legal guidance. When two individuals try to divide their shared assets for different goals, it's important to make sure that your representation would will cause a conflict of interest. In some scenarios shared representation may work, but for others it may not.

The Challenges Of Financial Stability

If your plans for retirement were based on a shared asset, you may need to rethink how you wish to spend your golden years. You will likely need to re-evaluate your goals and figure out what you can do with approximately half the assets.

Your retirement plans might include moving into a different house, or traveling the world, or purchasing a large asset like a boat or vacation home. Whatever your goals are, it's important to understand what your options are and what results you can expect during a divorce that are in line with pension and retirement legislation. Pension plans and retirement accounts generally have their own specific legislation that needs to be adhered to when dividing these assets.

It's important to seek legal advice from legal professionals who are experienced with these specific types of accounts, understand the needs of this age group, and know how to negotiate a fair and reasonable resolution.