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In America, there has been an increase in gray divorce rates. Gray divorces, or divorces involving those who are 50 or older and who have likely been married for a long time, have been on the rise for the last couple decades.

Gray divorcees, who are also known as “diamond or silver splitters” due to their likelihood of having gray hair, must be cautious about how they separate. There may be a lot more to lose in a gray divorce. You may have retirement accounts, stocks, savings, benefits or other things to consider when divorcing that younger couples may not yet need to handle.

Good financial decisions matter in gray divorces

In a gray divorce, the financial decisions you make are vital to your future. You may be too old to return to the workforce. You might have health problems or be reliant on your spouse’s pension or retirement accounts for your own support in the future.

Dividing your assets can be difficult, but some of the assets you’ll want to look for and determine how to split or share include:

  • The marital home or other real estate properties
  • Life insurance policies
  • Social Security benefits
  • Retirement benefits
  • Vehicles
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Furniture and personal items in the home
  • Savings accounts
  • Bank accounts

Overall, gray divorces are similar to other divorces legally, but on a more personal level, they require more thought to guarantee that both individuals can take care of themselves in old age. For example, if a woman has been cared for by her husband for the last 40 years and has no work experience, it might be difficult for her to return to the workforce at 60 or older. She may have no retirement to fall back on and be reliant on her husband’s income. This is something that has to be considered carefully, so that she is able to maintain a fair standard of living and care for herself following the divorce.

If you are planning on seeking a divorce over the age of 50, it’s smart to talk to an attorney from the start. Your attorney will need to explain a number of aspects of cases like yours that could affect you, like age, health, potential earnings and other factors. Gray divorces aren’t impossible, but they are complex and will take some creative thinking to help both people walk away satisfied with the end of the marriage.