FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-02-13
Each marriage has its ups and downs. When first starting out, it can be difficult for husband and wife to balance life and work. If they decide to have children, this can increase the responsibilities that they have, and may place a financial strain on the relationship. When money is tight, it can increase the stress that the couple may be feeling, leading to arguments.
It is has often seemed that the longer a marriage, the less likely it is that the couple will get divorced. These fights over finances or other issues can be quickly resolved, and attention can be focused on other more relevant concerns. However, there has been an increase in the number of “grey divorces” occurring in the United States.
A grey divorce applies to couples married for a significant amount of time, where the husband and wife are over 50 years old. According to Bowling Green State University, grey divorce rates have increased by 50 percent over the past 20 years.
In these marriages, the children are generally adults, meaning that the couple no longer has to stay married for the sake of the child. Even though child custody may not be an issue of concern, individuals in these marriages need to consider their financial situation before going through with the divorce. Many are approaching retirement age, and if they do not plan things properly, could find themselves in a very challenging financial situation.
These couples will have many unique issues that need to be addressed as part of the property division aspect of the divorce. Retirement accounts will be one item that could create problems for the parties. The value of investments will need to be accurately determined before being divided between the husband and wife. If one of the spouses remained at home to care for the children while the other worked, this could also impact the settlement and also lead to spousal support obligations.
Couples may also need to consider what to do with the marital home. In some cases, the home may be paid off, and may have substantial equity. The recent decrease in home values may have diminished this equity, so one potential source of retirement income may be unavailable. This can drain some of the other funds that the couple has, and make it more difficult for both sides to emerge from the divorce in solid financial shape.
If you are considering filing for a divorce, speak to an experienced family law attorney about your situation. Each divorce is different, and it is important to understand the process so that you can be prepared for what will happen next. This can be a very difficult time, and you need to work with someone who can answer your questions, and allow you to make the best decisions for your family’s future.