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The financial effects of “gray divorce”

A growing number of people in Illinois are choosing to divorce later in life. In the past, older Americans tended to stay together, especially if they were already part of a long marriage. Divorce was less socially acceptable, and people often had fewer expectations of health and lively activity in their retirement years. However, since 1990, the rate of divorce for people aged 65 and older has more than doubled. This trend shows no sign of stopping and has continued even as the divorce rate for younger Americans has actually decreased. There is a number of reasons why “gray divorce” is on the rise, but there are also specific financial concerns that can accompany when middle-aged and senior Americans divorce.

In almost all cases, these concerns are more significant when the divorce involves a long marriage. Property division, alimony and other major financial costs associated with divorce are far more significant when the assets involved have accumulated over decades. When people end shorter marriages, often second or later marriages, the financial effects may be less significant. In some gray divorces, however, one spouse has stayed home and raised children for years. The other spouse may be responsible for a significant amount of alimony to be paid over many years in these cases.

Property division is also a significant concern, especially when it comes to retirement accounts. People have often accumulated substantial sums over many years, and it can be far more expensive to finance two retirements than one shared retirement. People may find themselves scrambling to increase their retirement savings after finalizing a gray divorce.

Divorce can have major financial impacts at any stage of life. A family law attorney might work with a divorcing spouse to provide strong representation and achieve a fair settlement on property division, spousal support and related matters.