What Is Gray Divorce?
A gray divorce is the dissolution of a marriage between a couple who is 50 years old (or older). In the last two decades, gray divorce rates have been steadily increasing, and research suggests that 1 in 4 divorces is actually a gray divorce. Examples of gray divorce (using famous couples) include:
- Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver
- Bill & Melinda Gates
- Billy Ray & Tish Cyrus
- Jeff & Mackenzie Bezos
- Mel & Robyn Gibson
- Morgan Freeman & Myrna Colley-Lee
- Robin Williams & Marsha Garces
Common Causes of Gray Divorce
There are several reasons that older couples divorce including (but not limited to):
- No longer having anything in common. After couples become empty nesters or either party retires, they may begin to feel estranged. Sometimes, regardless of their children or empty-nest syndrome, couples fall out of love with one another.
- Longer lifespans. As people are living longer, we now have more opportunities or time to reconsider our lives, desires, and dreams. Some older couples realize later in life that their relationship isn’t making them happy anymore or that they are no longer seeing eye-to-eye with their spouse.
- Infidelity (physical or emotional). If either party has an emotional or physical affair, that can lead to divorce.
- Finances. Money (and its related issues) are amongst the leading causes of divorce in the U.S. If couples are in debt, disagree on spending or saving habits, or aren’t on the same page regarding their finances, they may often fight or harbor resentment, which can lead to divorce.
- Addictions. Another leading cause of divorce (generally and for older couples) is addiction. If either party is addicted to drugs, gambling, sex, or any substance or activity, that dependency can impact a couple’s marital relationship, finances, and more.
Gray Divorce Mistakes to Avoid
If you are involved in or plan to file for a gray divorce, you should ensure you don’t make the mistake of:
- Failing to plan for the future. While you may be excited about your future independence, after a divorce, your life will change drastically in many areas. You can’t prepare for every inevitability, but you should consider where you will, how you will cover your expenses, and what your post-divorce life will look like. Considering these things can help ensure you ask for what you need during the divorce (i.e. alimony, a portion of your spouse’s pension or social security, etc.).
- Underestimating your future expenses. You should create a detailed budget that accurately reflects what your expenses will be once you have separated from your partner. If you do not properly research your expenses, you risk your financial future.
- Failing to consider your dependents. If your children are minors or even adults who depend on you financially, you may consider whether you are able to support them on your own. You should also consider when and how you will inform them that you are getting divorced as you do not want them to get the information secondhand.
- Filing before you are really prepared. Getting divorced does not just impact you legally but also financially, emotionally, and mentally. It is a costly mistake to file before you are ready emotionally or before you understand the legal and financial implications of divorce. You should consult with an experienced attorney and/or do some research before filing.
- Ignoring the tax implications. Certain property division decisions as well as other divorce decisions can have an impact on your taxes. You should consult with an attorney or forensic accountant to understand capital gain taxes and more.
- Hiding assets. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to hide or take marital assets from your spouse. You can face serious consequences if you are caught attempting to conceal assets from your spouse or the court.
- Isolating yourself. Before, during, and after your divorce, you will need a reliable support system. While you may be tempted to isolate yourself, you should ask certain people to check on you occasionally or hold yourself accountable to engage in self-care activities and reach out to others.
If you are filing for divorce in Pennsylvania, contact Cairns Law Offices. We allow couples to file for divorce online for only $299 (which includes court costs). Learn more about our divorce services by calling (888) 863-9115.