Grey Divorces Continue to Rise: What You Need to Know

August 21, 2023 | By Hillary J. Moonay

The term “grey divorce” refers to those couples who decide to divorce later in life and usually after decades of marriage.  Unlike divorces among younger couples, divorces among the over-50 set are increasing.  A recent CNN article explains why this trend is on the rise. 

If you are considering a later-in-life divorce, here are 5 things you need to know:

  1. Financial issues in a grey divorce require different considerations than couples who divorce earlier in life. As one or both parties may be retired and already collecting social security or a pension, it is important to understand monthly expenses as well as monthly income.  If you already have a financial advisor, it is helpful to meet with them at the beginning of the divorce process, or even earlier, to understand your financial needs going forward. 
  2. Consider what your living arrangements might look like after your divorce.  For many older individuals, when they divorce later in life, they no longer want or need a large house or property that requires a lot of maintenance.  Post-divorce might be the perfect time to downsize or move closer to adult children and grandchildren.
  3. Take the time to review your current estate plan.  While divorce often requires a review of estate documents, the considerations may be different for older divorcees.  You may want to consider meeting with your estate attorney at the beginning of the divorce process so that you understand what you will need to revisit once the divorce is complete.
  4. Asset division in grey divorces is often more complicated as people tend to acquire more assets over time.  Older couples often must figure out how to divide a more significant amount of real estate, investment accounts, retirement accounts, personal property, and more.  Additionally, there may be joint trusts or accounts established for the benefit of the parties, adult children, or grandchildren.  A divorce may require changes to these financial arrangements.  If possible, gather as much information as you can about your assets and debts.  Even putting together a simple list of the assets you know exist is helpful.
  5. The emotional impact of divorce is often greater on older individuals.  After decades of living with your partner, you are now facing a significant change in your daily life and routine.  It is important to maintain social connections and seek the support of family and friends.  If you are not already meeting with a therapist regularly, it is a good time to consider doing so. 

If you find yourself facing a divorce after years of marriage, you should consider consulting with an Obermayer attorney to understand your rights and what you can expect. 

The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.

About the Authors

Hillary J. Moonay


Doylestown Divorce Attorney Hillary co-chairs Obermayer’s Family Law Group. She focuses her practice exclusively in the area of family law, where she handles all phases of the negotiation and litigation of domestic...

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