Gray Divorce: The Trend of Older Divorcees

You may have heard about a new trend sweeping the nation: “gray divorce.” After Bill and Melinda Gates separated, there was a wave of buzz about this new kind of split.

But what is a gray divorce? It’s simple. A gray divorce is any split between couples middle-aged or older, when many people have started to develop a few white hairs. There are plenty of reasons why people get divorced when they’re older. Keep reading to learn why you might get a gray divorce and how these splits differ from other separations.

Why People Get Gray Divorces

The reasons people separate can look the same no matter how young or old they are. People grow apart, priorities change, and couples realize they don’t want to spend the rest of their lives together. However, there are a few reasons why people may wait until they’re older to legally separate, such as:

  • They waited until children were grown
  • Financial disagreements about retirement
  • Midlife affairs
  • Boredom with decades of the status quo

Any one of these reasons can lead couples who have been together for years or decades to split in their later years.

Topics to Consider for Your Gray Divorce

While there are important concerns in every separation, splitting at an older age brings up unique questions. For example, it becomes essential to consider matters of retirement. Here are the four most important considerations for older divorcees.

Retirement Accounts

During a gray divorce, both partners are likely close to retirement. They were probably planning on retiring together before they chose to separate. The asset division must split the retirement accounts fairly, so both people have the opportunity to retire with dignity.

Spousal Support

Many older couples have one partner who acted as the breadwinner and another who chose to stay at home. The lower-earning partner still deserves to maintain their quality of life after the separation is finalized. To accomplish this, many courts will award lower-earning partners indefinite or “permanent” spousal support, which should be factored into your plans.

Child Support

Older couples may or may not still have minor children. If they do, then child support discussions become essential. Older children lead to questions about who pays for insurance on cars the children own, who is responsible for saving for college, and how much money the custodial parent needs to support the child to adulthood.

Family Homes

Last but not least, older couples are more likely to own homes together. The debate over who keeps the house, or how the house is sold and the profits split, can become heated. If both partners want to keep the home they’ve been living in for years, it can become a central sticking point in the division of assets. Meanwhile, if only one partner wants to keep it, the other will likely receive a much larger share of other assets.

Prepare Yourself for Your Split

A gray divorce is stressful, but it can be resolved just as quickly as any other split. Just reach out to a qualified California divorce attorney about your situation. They can help you understand your case and approach your split with your best interests in mind. Get started today and reclaim the rest of your life.

Share On


Navigating The Breakup:

A Complete Guide To Divorce For Silicon Valley Founders & Executives

Have more questions about divorce? Check out our Divorce Q&A.