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Dividing Marital Assets in a Gray Divorce

Dividing Marital Assets in a Gray Divorce

Gray divorce is a phrase often used to describe divorce between a couple that is above the age of 50. The term may not be completely appropriate in every instance and some older couples may even resent the implication, but regardless…there are certain issues that are different in this particular situation.

  1. Older spouses often face complex financial issues.
  2. Gray divorce is often a financial setback.
  3. Reaching settlements that provide a fair division of property while addressing alimony (known as spousal maintenance in Arizona) can be especially difficult during gray divorces.

In the last two decades, divorce over 50 has become increasingly common. In a divorce that falls into this category, certain highly contested aspects of divorce in general can usually be completely avoided like agreeing on legal decision making and parenting time or parental visitation. But, sadly, that doesn’t mean that gray divorces are free of all complications and highly contested issues. When divorce occurs later in life, the process can be financially devastating. This makes it vital for spouses to make careful plans in order to secure what will be a fair financial settlement.

What Factor’s Create Financial Stress During Gray Divorce?

The proximity of retirement increases the stress of losing money from the “nest egg.” A decrease in funds is viewed from the perspective that there is little time to make up for the financial loss (due to divorce settlements or court fees, increased costs of living alone, etc.) Additionally, there is the added issue of now needing to find funds for two separate retirements, which, statistically, will cost up to 50% more per person in comparison to the funding of a joint retirement. Older adults considering the financial ramifications of divorce also have to consider (particularly if they have previously left the workforce) that they may have fewer earning opportunities for reasonable employment.

One ongoing study that was featured in The Chicago Tribune attempted to demonstrate the exact financial toll that a gray divorce can take on participants. The research indicated that the poverty rate amongst married couples age 62+ is 4%. Divorced men in this same age bracket are at 14% poverty rate with divorced women in the same age bracket at 30%. This shows that there is a great need for careful consideration as divorcing couples over the age of 50 secure the appropriate and fair division of property as well as a reasonable spousal support agreement.

If you need assistance with securing appropriate spousal maintenance or a fair division of property in your divorce, get in touch with the Arizona divorce lawyers at Arizona Family Law Attorneys.


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