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The Gray Divorce: A Guide to Divorcing Over the Age of 50

Divorcing couples over 50 will have different considerations to keep in mind as they dissolve their marriage.

Divorcing couples over 50 will have different considerations to keep in mind as they dissolve their marriage.

While about 10 percent of all divorces in 1990 involved couples over the age of 50, today, about 25 percent of divorces are associated with older couples. These so-called gray divorces are expected to increase even further – specifically increasing by 25 percent – in the coming years, according to a sociological study conducted at the Bowling Green State University.

Although this study did not pinpoint the factors that may be contributing to an increased divorce rate in the population over 50 years old, it has brought to light the fact that those over 50 who are divorcing will have different considerations to make than younger divorcing couples. One of the primary reasons for this is that those over 50 will not have as much time to financial rebound after a divorce.

If you are over 50 and considering a divorce, here are some other things to keep in mind:

  • Maintain (or get) health insurance: While those who are covered by their employer may have to adjust their plan (to remove their former spouse from it), individuals who will no longer be covered by their former spouse’s health insurance plan are well advised to secure their own coverage. Some options, like COBRA benefits through your former spouse’s employer, are often expensive, so be sure to do some research when finding the best option for health insurance coverage.
  • Divide and protect your retirement account: If you and your former spouse have a joint retirement account, this will be divided as part of the divorce proceeding. It’s important to note, however, that during divorce, some people may consider cashing out retirement costs due to the potentially high cost of the process. Many financial planners would advise against doing this for a number of reasons; while cashing out early could mean that you are hit with huge tax burdens, it can also be a short-sided solution that may come back to bite you as you age and need to rely on these accounts.

Given that divorce is a complicated process regarding of the age of the divorcing parties, it’s critical that spouses considering divorce work with experienced family lawyers to ensure that their best interests are fully represented. At the Law Office of Mike Hulen, our Colorado family law attorneys are skilled at helping our Clients achieve the best possible outcomes to their divorce as efficiently as possible. If you are thinking about divorce, contact us at (303) 932-8666 for a professional evaluation of your case, along with expert advice on how to proceed.

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