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What is Gray Divorce?

Gray or Grey Divorce refers to the the increasingly common phenomenon of divorce between two older people, usually from long marriages.

As the US lifespan increases the vow, “til death do we part” takes on a new meaning. Our society is finding out that older couples (generally people over 50) who share other commonalities such as adult children, retirement, married over 20 years and empty nest situations, are deciding to part ways in record numbers.

As divorce attorneys in Belleville, Illinois and practitioners of Family Law Mediation in Belleville, IL, we want to examine this phenomenon and offer some practical thoughts about it. This article will focus on some observations of this type of divorce and some tips for how to navigate through these waters with the end goal of allowing both partners to enjoy their golden years as well as possible.

What is Grey Divorce?

What is Grey Divorce?

The Unique Challenges of Divorcing Later in Life

The rise in baby boomer divorces promises to be an ongoing phenomenon as the lifespan of Americans increases and so long as other types of technology, medicine and lifestyle standards improve. We will likely see that this divorce trend will not end with the passing of the boomers, but will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

Spousal Support and Grey Divorce

Issues related to spousal support are often complex, contentious and emotional. In situations of divorce between people age 50 and over this issue is one of the most complex that will need to be faced.

At the top of the list of concerns is always the amount of income being generated between the two divorcing individuals. If there is only one income, this becomes even more pronounced because at an older age, possibilities and abilities to find work and supplement one’s income becomes more difficult if not impossible.

It is important for both spouses to realistically understand the limitations of income as it will affect both individuals going forward. Speak with an attorney to better understand Social Security Benefits, retirement, pensions and other elements necessary to help divorcing parties remain financially independent.

Retirement and Grey Divorce

There is little that can change a retirement outlook more than divorce at this time. For divorcing couples in this older age group, division of marital assets along with spousal support and a limited and fixed retirement income can present some limitations to the quality of life for both spouses.

Depending on the overall income situation, the ages of the divorcing parties and the ability and willingness to continue working, retirement plans may need to be changed, delayed and there is a possibility that new jobs may need to be taken on to afford the separation.

Residence Situations Affecting Grey Divorce

After a long time spent in the marriage home, gray divorce in the United States can make the marriage home a contentious area. The comforts of life in the home, the ability to host visits with grandkids must be balanced against the potential sale of the property and loss of the stability that the home provided for so many years.

Mediation and Gray Divorce

If there is one thing that grey divorce shares with other more typical forms of divorce and separation it is the importance of family mediation when the divorcing couple needs third-party assistance with issues around communication and resolution.

Our Family Law Mediators can help people of all ages save money, save time, have more control and minimize the stress of separation. Our mediators can help you develop communication skills that will serve each party in the long term.

Call Wilson, Dabler & Associates at 618-235-1600.

Wilson, Dabler & Associates, L.L.C.

14 South Second Street
Belleville, IL 62220

Satellite Office (by appointment only)
216 North Market Street
Waterloo, IL 62298


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