You and your spouse have been together for many years, and you spent them raising your children and growing your assets. Now, your children have left home, and you’ve found that you have little left in common.

You’re not alone in this situation. Many people have found themselves unsure about the path forward after their children have moved out. Today, some older adults choose to go through a divorce at this stage, though there are some complex concerns to take care of if you do choose to divorce over the age of 50.

Joining the ranks of the gray divorcees

If you are over the age of 50 and going through a divorce, you’ll be going through a gray divorce. A gray divorce is one that involves older individuals, named for the gray hair that many people have at this stage of life.

The divorce rate for those over 50 in the United States is rising, and there are many reasons why. Some possible reasons include:

  • A greater acceptance of divorce in the United States without the social stigmas of the past
  • Financial concerns, which are a primary cause of many divorces between the young and old
  • Growing apart, which is possible after many decades together
  • Infidelity, which does not come with the same stigma as the past
  • Better health for longer, giving people time to make changes in their lives when they are unhappy

Gray divorces have special needs

The only trouble with gray divorces is that they are more complex than divorces for younger couples. Why? There is often much more to lose. You may have retirement accounts, pensions, multiple properties and other valuable assets that you’d like to protect. California, a community property state, requires a 50% split of marital assets, which could significantly impact a person’s retirement plans or future goals.

If you plan to file for a gray divorce, call your attorney

All divorces have their own complexities, but gray divorces require special attention and care. If you want to go through a divorce, speak with your attorney about it first. You may want to discuss the divorce before bringing it up with your spouse, so you can be prepared by collecting information about your assets and deciding how you’d like to split them. Not all divorces will be contentious, and yours may be relatively straightforward, but it’s always best to get the right guidance.