Divorce for those over age 50, also referred to as gray divorce, has doubled in the last 25 years and is at its highest rate ever. People are living longer with additional “bonus” years and for some, the thought of spending their golden years with someone they have nothing in common with is unbearable. Additionally, divorce as a whole has become more socially acceptable which makes the decision easier for an older generation.
Divorce is an emotional and complicated process at any age, but for older people, it can offer its own set of challenges. For any age group, divorce requires a disentangling of the assets and property but because it’s later in life, gray divorce can have additional financial and health repercussions.
When you get divorced at a later age, your retirement and financial plan will need to change. You have greater assets to divide, but you are also used to a certain standard of living that may be hard to maintain after divorce. Deciding the terms of the settlement in a gray divorce can be more challenging since there is much more at stake and many more assets to divide.
- Your retirement savings could take a hit and you may be out of time to make up the difference. This could be the same financially as not saving enough for retirement earlier in life.
- If one spouse hasn’t been working, starting a career later in life can be a challenge and may not give you time to build retirement savings–80% of divorced women over 65 live in poverty.
Gray divorce can also have health implications such as:
- Depression, anxiety and stress which can lead to other health problems such as heart disease, insomnia, obesity, a decrease in activity and psychological distress.
- Isolation–later life divorce contributes to loneliness and lost social connections, especially among men.
Experts believe that many people underestimate the financial impact a gray divorce will have. If you're considering a later life divorce, it’s important to get professional legal and financial advice to make sound decisions for the best possible outcome.