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Fear and hope for those divorcing later in life

This article looks at both the good and bad aspects of gray divorce, especially from a financial perspective.

Divorce and separation are scary propositions at any age, but for older couples who decide to part ways, the risks can seem even greater. With little time left prior to retirement to rebuild their finances, those going through a so-called gray divorce need to think carefully about what effect their divorce will have on their long-term plans. At the same time, as the Huffington Post reports, the risks of gray divorce should not be overstated. Gray divorce can ultimately provide people with a sense of independence and freedom that they would otherwise not have in an unhappy marriage. Below is a look at the good and the bad aspects of divorcing later in life.

The bad side of gray divorce

Divorce is rarely cheap, but the financial risks, as the Washington Post points out, are especially high during a gray divorce. Not only will the marital estate have to be split between both spouses, but in many cases each spouse will then have to adapt to the financial realities of living single. Generally speaking, the cost of living alone is higher than the cost of living together, when costs can be shared. Furthermore, the greatest risk for gray divorcees is that there is often very little time to rebuild a nest egg for retirement. It is extremely important that people going through a divorce reach an agreement that protects their long-term financial future.

Also, divorce is, obviously, emotionally devastating for many people. Everybody goes into marriage convinced that their marriage will last forever. When that marriage ends, especially later in life and after decades of being together, the effect can be difficult. Feelings of loneliness can be intense for gray divorcees who worry about facing retirement alone.

But there is a good side

While there are certainly aspects of gray divorce that are frightening, it is important to point out that more and more Baby Boomers and retirees are nonetheless choosing to divorce. The reason for the increasing gray divorce rate may have to do with the fact that the benefits of divorce often outweigh the drawbacks of staying in an unhappy marriage. Many gray divorcees say that the best part of divorcing later in life is the sense of freedom that it gives them.

Furthermore, while it is important to stress the financial risks of gray divorce, it should also be pointed out that many people are better equipped to handle those risks than they were in the past. Women are far more likely to have their own careers nowadays and no longer be dependent on their spouses for financial support. That financial independence makes it easier for many women to transition to post-divorce life than would otherwise have been the case a few short decades ago.

Family law support

Going through a divorce, no matter at what age, requires preparation and guidance. A family law attorney can help those who are considering a divorce understand what options they may have. The stakes in a divorce are high, which is why a divorce attorney can offer some much needed guidance and clarity during this otherwise difficult and confusing time.