Grey divorce refers to divorces involving spouses over the age of 50, the baby boomer generation. Divorce is difficult and arduous at any age, but going through it later in life can be especially traumatic, both emotionally and financially. Baby boomers in Washington state have many factors to consider when getting divorced, and it may be necessary to seek legal advice to negotiate the process effectively.
Probably the most severe consequence of grey divorce is the impact on each spouse’s retirement plans. Assets like pensions, retirement funds and even Social Security benefits are almost always considered joint assets during a divorce. Long marriages add complications to dividing assets fairly. Since retirement planning typically doesn’t kick into high gear until after people get married, the future they were counting on will likely get wholly reevaluated during their grey divorce.
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Both health and life insurance policies are precarious venues for fallout from divorcing after a long marriage as well. If one spouse was on a health care plan through their partner’s employer, they are immediately removed from it when the divorce gets finalized. Moreover, after proceedings conclude, either partner is free to remove the other as a beneficiary on their life insurance policy.
Adult children are another complication of grey divorce and, unfortunately, can sometimes be subject to dramatic and potentially even financially taxing aftermath. Of course, the emotional strain of parents divorcing is real at any age, but additional, more latent damage can accrue. Adult children may feel an obligation to support the less financially stable of their parents, which, in turn, could inhibit their careers and impact their own spouses and children.
Times are changing
It used to be that only one out of every 10 couples over the age of 50 were going through a divorce, but now it’s one in four, and that rate of increase shows no sign of slowing down. Divorcing after 50 is a complicated process that often requires adept legal counsel for both parties to understand their options and future obstacles.