At a time when divorce is becoming less common for younger people, the divorce rate among U.S. adults ages 50 and older has nearly doubled since the 1990s, according to a Pew Research Center report. Healthier lifestyles and a reduced stigma of divorce, in terms of religion and society, has made the divorce rates for older people—known as “gray divorce”—skyrocket. If you’re divorcing after a long-term marriage, here’s what you need to know.
Why Gray Divorces Occur
Unlike young marriages, in which infidelity and communication problems lead to separation, older couples face unique difficulties which may result in divorce, such as:
- Growing apart: After the last child goes to college or they retire, older couples are afforded the time to realize they have drifted apart from each other.
- Age: Getting older can be an unwelcome reminder for anyone. Divorcing for someone younger is very common among the elderly.
- Sex: Differences in sex drives can turn a marriage sour. As people get older, their sexual appetites differ—and if it’s dramatic enough, it can result in divorce.
Issues to Watch Out for in a Gray Divorce
Unfortunately for those going through a late-life divorce, the issues surrounding the divorce can be much more complex than anticipated. Below are 4 issues that may affect spouses going through a gray divorce:
- Determining alimony: As people grow older, and are later in their careers, their compensation becomes much more complex than when they started. When determining alimony, the courts don’t just look at base salary, but also restricted stock units, options, ownership stakes, executive compensation packages, travel perks, and more.
- Separate property vs. marital property: Nevada is a community property state, which means that both spouses are considered equal owners of all marital property. If you’ve owned a painting since before you were married, and it’s greatly appreciated in value since then, it’s important for you to prove it’s separate property.
- Life insurance: If you’re going to pay alimony, you are required to have life insurance in the amount equal to the alimony agreed to in the divorce decree. If your policy is about to expire, you need to get a new policy, with a death benefit and duration to cover your spousal support obligation, which can cost you thousands a year.
- Pension plans and other retirement accounts: A pension is a promise made by an employer to provide a monthly payment to an employee until they pass away. In a divorce, this money has to be divided, which can be complicated if it’s a government pension.
Why Mediation May Be Your Best Bet
In mediation, a neutral third party helps facilitate an agreement without having to go to court. As opposed to divorce, mediation often takes less time, is less expensive, and results in less stress in your life. Anyone over 50 may have a demanding job that requires 60 to 80 hours of your time per week or be getting close to retirement, which is why it may be better to resolve divorce through mediation. If you want to learn more, please contact our Henderson mediation lawyers at McDonald Law Offices, PLLC today.
Call (702) 850-8004 or contact us online for more information.