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Special considerations when facing gray divorce

In 2021, Psychology Today reported that the rate of “gray divorce” has doubled since 1990. Defined as divorce among couples older than 50 by the AARP, separation later in life comes with unique challenges.

Consider these factors if you are facing divorce as your retirement years approach.

Estate planning

Divorcing can have unwanted effects on your estate, especially if you are ending a second or subsequent marriage. Review your will and other documents to make sure you have named your intended beneficiaries. You may need to seek further legal advice if you want to provide for children and grandchildren from multiple relationships.

Family relationships

Child custody may not be a concern if all your children have grown. However, you may still need to foster a close relationship with your adult children after a divorce. According to the Institute of Family Studies, men tend to have half as much contact with grown children after divorce as women do. Fathers also tend to increase financial support, however, even when kids are beyond the age for court-ordered child support.

Retirement and budget

Speaking of finances, you have different concerns when divorcing after 50 than earlier in life. For example, both spouses’ retirement accounts and other assets may constitute community property. If one spouse spent time at home raising children, he or she may have a much lower income. In this case, you may ask the court to order spousal support.

Understanding the reasons behind gray divorce can inform your next steps if your marriage has become troubled as you age.