What is a gray divorce?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2019 | divorce | 0 comments

If you are half of a long-term but far less than ideal Minnesota marriage, you may be a candidate for gray divorce, the nickname given to the ever increasing number of divorces among couples aged 50 and above.

Kiplinger reports that gray divorce statistics reveal the following:

  • A full 25% of all American divorces today represent someone over the age of 50.
  • This compares to only 10% of divorces in 1990.
  • More than 50% of gray divorces end the marriages of couples married for 20 or more years.
  • The number of gray divorces continues to increase while divorces among younger couples continue to fall.

Gray divorce causes

While each gray divorce represents its own set of circumstances, researchers and analysts attribute the gray divorce phenomenon to the following:

  • Divorce no longer represents a moral or social stigma.
  • People have higher expectations of marriage than they once did, especially when it comes to love, communication, compatibility, personal fulfillment, etc.
  • People live longer today than they did in the past, making a loveless marriage far more untenable than it once was.
  • Women have made considerable economic gains in the workplace during the past several decades, giving them more choices than marriage or poverty.
  • Online dating has given everyone, including older adults, the possibility of finding a new person with whom to share their life, or at least enjoy the single life.

Gray divorce economic realities

Regardless of the fact that you should not have to view your marriage as a life sentence, you should nevertheless recognize that getting a divorce late in life carries with it some negative financial consequences. One of the biggest is that the retirement income you currently anticipate or rely on likely will become cut in half when you divorce.

In addition, your family home represents marital property, the value of which you and your spouse will need to somehow equitably divide between you. Fortunately, Minnesota is an equitable distribution state rather than a community property state. Nevertheless, even though you and your spouse will not have to divide your marital property in a precise 50/50 manner, your property settlement agreement must not take unfair advantage of either of you. If it does, the court likely will not approve it and will divide your marital property between you as it sees fit.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.