Increasingly, couples in their 50s and 60s are pursuing divorces. At this stage, parents often have their kids out of the house and couples closing in on retirement may have very different thoughts on how they want to spend that time. People have referred to this trend as “gray divorce.”
Divorcing at an older age can be both liberating and frightening, as it can dramatically change a person’s lifestyle. And for better or worse, a divorce can have a major impact on what the next chapter might look like. With this in mind, we offer some suggestions for people who are considering filing for divorce after the age of 50.
As noted in this Bloomberg article on gray divorce, about 54 percent of baby boomer women leave financial and investment decisions up to their husbands. This means that many women are less familiar with their marital assets than their husbands are.
To address this gap in financial knowledge, men and women who were not active in financial decision making during a marriage will want to educate themselves on their marital assets, debts and property.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
A divorce settlement is not a “take it or leave it” situation; most spouses will negotiate until they come to a fair, agreeable settlement. Being afraid to negotiate, or assuming you won’t have to, can lead to even more contentious battles and unfair settlements.
Don’t forget about the big picture
It is easy to focus on the immediate impact of divorce-related matters. Of course, it is crucial to think about the transition out of marriage, but remember that there is a whole new chapter ahead. Thinking about what you want that future to look like instead of concentrating all your efforts on winning or punishing an ex can make it a little easier to secure a satisfactory, fair settlement you deserve. For adults over 50 pursuing divorce, making decisions based on emotion can have devastating consequences, as these decisions will have a lasting impact and can affect a person’s ability to retire as well as what retirement may now look like.
Divorcing after decades of marriage is difficult, and there are challenges that will come with these types of splits. However, by educating yourself, fighting for a fair settlement and focusing on the bigger picture, you can be in a better position to overcome difficult obstacles and build a solid foundation for the future.