man speaking to attorney about divorce

The Ins and Outs of Grey Divorce

By Michael DiFalco

Divorce at any age can bring a whirlwind of emotions. When divorce occurs in the later years after a long-term marriage, it tends to be a decision that can be difficult emotionally — and also financially. 

“Grey divorce” is a commonly used term that refers to ending a marriage when the spouses are in their 50s, 60s, or 70s. Any divorce can be complicated, especially when one partner is financially dependent on the other. 

Gray divorce is one of the most complex types of divorce since spouses are often near or past retirement age. It typically requires the aid of a divorce attorney who specializes in grey divorce to help both spouses arrive at a division of assets that can provide adequate financial support in the later years. 

Common Reasons for Grey Divorce

The rate of grey divorce has been on an upward swing for the past few decades. Divorce statistics show that grey divorce rates are now double what they were 30 years ago. 

Multiple Marriages

There’s a wide range of reasons behind the increasing rates of grey divorce. Some of these follow certain trends. For example, there’s a higher rate of divorce in the later years for a second, third, or fourth marriage compared to a first marriage. 

Grown Children 

One common reason for grey divorce is the decision to wait until children are grown and financially independent before moving forward with a divorce. Such a choice is often referred to as postponed divorce. 

Lifestyle Changes

When lifestyles change in the later years, it can have a serious impact on a couple’s ability to remain satisfied with a marriage. Retirement and the end of child-rearing responsibilities are two key scenarios that significantly change daily life, and often couples find their values and desires are no longer compatible.

Personal Issues

Personal issues impact every marriage, and often spouses find a way to work through marital challenges. The data on grey divorce rates show that older spouses today may have more options for escaping from marriages that take a toll on mental and emotional health. Factors like abuse, infidelity, addiction, and financial irresponsibility all play a larger role in grey divorce today than they did for past generations. 

Financial Implications of Grey Divorce

Finances are often the chief concern of both spouses when it comes to moving forward with a grey divorce. How assets are split in a divorce depends on state law. 

How two spouses will be impacted by the division of assets can depend heavily on their financial and non-economic contributions throughout the marriage. This is particularly true in states like New York, where the equitable division model is used to determine fairness rather than equality. 

Dividing assets in grey divorce concerns far more than just bank account holdings and property. Other items that need to be addressed include the following: 

  • Division of marital assets including real estate, savings and investments
  • Retirement accounts, such as pension plans, 401(k)s, IRAs
  • Employment benefits – health insurance is a concern in grey divorces
  • Social Security benefits
  • Life insurance
  • Division of debt
  • Inheritances 

Planning for Life After Divorce in the Later Years

It takes an experienced divorce attorney to negotiate on behalf of a spouse going through a grey divorce. Without strong representation, there’s a risk of being left without the financial support necessary to support a comfortable lifestyle in the later years. 

The experienced New York divorce attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco specialize in helping clients achieve secure outcomes for grey divorce in Garden City, NY, and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help. 

About the Author
I am a partner at Aiello & DiFalco LLP, and my priority for my clients is to guide them through an arduous court case to provide them with the opportunity to write the next chapter in their life. I tailor my approach to each client’s priorities and positions, and to the extent that matters can be predicted, I will always provide a realistic perspective of how the law could be applied to the particular facts and circumstances of a case. Since I thrive on helping people and solving problems, I bring an optimistic and positive approach to practicing in a very difficult area of law. With more than a decade of experience handling hundreds of cases, I have the ability to get results on the issues my clients view as priorities. When cases or certain issues cannot be settled, I have a solid record of success at trials, hearings, and on appeals. Feel free to contact me for a free initial consultation, I am always available to help.