Understanding Divorce After Retirement

Understanding Divorce After Retirement

Since 1990, the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 has more than doubled. Researchers have predicted that “gray divorces” will triple by 2030. While many factors have contributed to the increase in gray divorce through the years, those who are in this situation need to understand the unique aspects of divorcing at an older age.

Those in this situation must consider how divorce will impact their financial situation, retirement plan, and family life. At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, I can help you assess your situation and provide you with experienced and knowledgeable legal representation to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

Common Causes of Gray Divorce

Divorcing after the age of 50 presents several unique challenges. While this is true, there are some causes of gray divorce that are common, which include the following:

  • Abuse: If one party is emotionally, mentally, or physically abused, they may file for divorce.
  • Addiction: If one spouse suffers from an addiction, it can strain the marriage. The addiction may also result in alienation of their spouse or other issues.
  • Increased desire for happiness: When children leave the home, it may be challenging for older couples to reconnect or get along. They may also discover they do not have much in common and want to pursue a life without their spouse.
  • Financial Issues: Money is a top cause of divorce at any age. Financial differences can result in a divorce.
  • Growing apart: As people get older, they may change, which could cause a couple to lose their desire to be together.
  • Infidelity: Physically or emotionally cheating can cause gray divorce.

As you can see, there are countless reasons someone may file for divorce over age 50.

Unique Factors in a Gray Divorce

Here, you can learn more about divorce after retirement and the important considerations to keep in mind.


Younger couples often have many years of work and earning potential ahead. This means that alimony may not be a factor in their divorce case.

However, for Florida retirees who have been married for several decades, alimony payments are virtually guaranteed to be a consideration. This is particularly the case when one spouse has remained in the home, raising children and running the household. In this situation, the court will likely order alimony payments. In some cases, the payments will be for life.

Retirement Savings

If you are considering divorce after age 50, you should prepare for your retirement savings to be cut in half. After retirement, you may think you would have enough money to make it; however, if you divorce, this may no longer be the case. This is particularly the case since the money will be used to cover the costs of two households.

Tax Consequences

You may experience tax consequences for a late-in-life divorce, too. For example, taking money from your retirement account (i.e., 403(b) or 401(k)) will result in taxes. If you are like some retirees, you may not have planned for these (often significant) tax consequences. The result of this is even less money for your retirement.

Age-Related Expenses

You must take time to consider the services that your spouse would have provided if you had remained married. For example, you may have to start paying someone for housekeeping services if your partner did this in the past. You may also have to find new means of transportation. The cost of these things can be significant, depending on your spouse’s role in your day-to-day life.

Determining What to Do with Your Marital Home

It is not unusual to have a sentimental attachment to your marital home. While this is understandable, deciding to keep the house after your divorce may not be the best option. If you decide to keep the house, you may have to give something else up.

For example, keeping the house may mean you do not receive any alimony or a reduced amount, or you must trade your portion of the pension. Sometimes, keeping your marital home is not the best financial decision you can make. As a result, you must look at your house as an asset you need to divide.

Gray Divorce and Adult Children

When seniors divorce, children are not a major issue in the divorce since custody disputes and parenting schedules are typically not a factor. However, this does not mean the children are completely absent from the divorce proceedings.

Many parents financially support their adult children. Unless the adult children have a disability or are in school, they will not be a formal consideration in the divorce process. While this is true, parents in this situation often find themselves in a situation where they must decide how to continue supporting their adult children with fewer assets (or if they can).

It is also important to note that adult children will react emotionally to their parent’s divorce. While there is no reason to over-share, parents should be able to be honest about the reason for their divorce with their adult children.

Avoid a Contentious Divorce

When going through a gray divorce, there is no benefit offered by it being contentious. However, this does not mean you should be an open book. For example, sharing your feelings about the assets you want or a prized possession may give your spouse information to use against you.

It is best to keep your divorce as “business-like” as possible. While you do not have to be contentious, you do not want to give away too much.

Dealing with a Gray Divorce

Gray divorce can be just as emotional and challenging as a divorce at a younger age. At Griffin Family Law, PLLC, I can help you through this process. I understand the law and how it applies to your situation. Contact my office today to schedule a consultation.

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