In California and across the country, a growing number of people are choosing to divorce later in life. The phenomenon is often referred to as a “gray divorce”. In the past 20 years, divorces involving couples aged 50 and older have more than doubled. While only 10% of divorcing couples were older than 50 in 1990, that figure had reached 25% by 2010. It has continued to increase since that time. The vast majority of divorces continue to involve younger people, but there are a number of reasons why people are more likely to end their marriage at a more advanced age.
Americans are leading longer, fuller and healthier lives at a more advanced age, and people still expect to enjoy personal fulfillment and love in their older years. In addition, social mores have changed over time. People who are over 50 today or even over 65 are members of a generation that changed the country’s approach to divorce, normalizing the end of a marriage and introducing no-fault divorce laws. In addition, only a minority of gray divorces involve long-term couples; many older couples divorcing are on their second or third marriages.
However, when long-term marriages are involved, the financial effects can be especially significant. Gray divorce comes with financial concerns, because people have much less time to rebuild their finances after it s finalized. They may not have time to dedicate significant resources to rebuilding their retirement funds. It is far more expensive to finance two individual retirements from one divided pot.
The financial effects of divorce can linger on for years to come, a particular concern for people who end their marriages at an older age. A family law attorney can work with people of any age to reach a fair settlement on a range of legal matters, including property division and alimony.