Unique Challenges and Considerations for Divorcing Couples Over 50

By Michael DiFalco

Divorce can be mentally and emotionally challenging, no matter your age or how long you’ve been divorced. However, for older couples over 50, going through a divorce can come with a whole host of unique obstacles that younger couples do not need to overcome. 

While navigating a divorce over 50 can be particularly difficult, you don’t have to do it alone. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide the advice, guidance, and representation you need during one of life’s toughest moments. 

What is a gray divorce, and why do older couples divorce?

Gray divorce describes a divorce involving spouses over the age of 50. While not as common many years ago, there has been an upward trend of older divorcing couples. 

Often, it’s not easy to fathom the idea of an older couple divorcing. If they’ve been married so long, why divorce later in life? No relationship is perfect, but older couples can face some challenges that are just too much to overcome, such as:

  • Growing apart
  • Infidelity
  • Changes in health
  • Empty nest syndrome

Going through a gray divorce can be especially hard on both spouses. But sometimes, older spouses would prefer going through a divorce than continuing in an unhappy marriage.

Issues Common for Older Couples in a Divorce

Couples of any age can face serious burdens during divorce. However, older couples tend to deal with unique struggles because of their age and life circumstances. 

Property and Debt Division

Spouses commonly acquire assets and debts throughout their marriage. Therefore, when spouses have been married for quite a long time, they normally have many assets and plenty of debt, making it tougher to divide property and debts between spouses at the time of divorce. 


Once spouses reach a certain age, they likely already have retirement plans. Going through a divorce can derail those plans. Pensions and 401ks may need to be divided, reducing retirement savings and forcing spouses to rethink their retirement entirely. 

Financial Instability

Couples commonly rely on one another financially. Therefore, when spouses divorce, it can bring about a sense of financial insecurity. Older individuals often need specific financial support, especially when dealing with ailing health and life changes, and divorce can further add to the stress and uncertainty.

Estate Planning

Older couples are more likely to have estate plans, helping set forth a plan for their passing. These estate plans regularly feature spouses as primary beneficiaries and even estate administrators. Upon divorcing, spouses must alter their estate plans to reflect these life changes, which can be difficult in many ways. 


Spouses over 50 can still have financially dependent children, making the divorce process harder. But even if a couple has adult children, it can still present some issues, as children may face hardships adapting to their parents’ divorce. 

Emotional Challenges

At some point, divorcing spouses likely pictured being with their partner forever. Going through a divorce at an older age can come with specific mental and emotional struggles as you adjust to post-divorce life without your former partner.

Seeking Legal Guidance for Your Gray Divorce

A skilled divorce attorney can use their knowledge and skills to get you through your gray divorce with the best possible case result. Additionally, you can rely on your lawyer to provide the care and compassion you need during such a trying time.The family law attorneys at Aiello & DiFalco LLP serve couples of all ages throughout Garden City, Nassau County, Long Island, and Queens, New York. Contact our firm today, and let’s discuss how we can assist you.

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.