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The financial implications of gray divorce

| February 13, 2023 

The rate of gray divorce, or divorce after 50, continues to increase, and with it comes certain financial implications. Residents of Washington who are ending their marriage and who are in this demographic should become familiar with these implications so that they can better prepare for the process and its aftermath.

How gray divorce affects finances

Older couples who decide to divorce face several financial challenges that can affect their quality of life after the divorce. These include:

  • Significant debt and other financial responsibilities
  • Less time to prepare for retirement
  • Rising costs for healthcare
  • Adult children who are still financially dependent on the parents

Additionally, older couples who have been married for a long time have often taken traditional roles in the relationship, with one spouse becoming the wage earner and the other spouse taking on the role of caretaker and being in charge of raising children and caring for the home. This means that post-divorce, the caretaking spouse who has been out of the workforce for many years might find themselves having to figure out how to support themselves with outdated work skills. They might also be unfamiliar with budgeting and paying the bills, particularly if they had not been involved in this during their marriage.

Financial concerns that might become factors in a divorce

Some financial concerns can also play a role in the decision to divorce for older couples. With longer life expectancies for both, older couples might be in disagreement about their financial plans for retirement, including when to retire and how to support themselves. Issues might also come up if the spouses struggled financially during their marriage. They might also disagree about providing financial support for their adult children or their elder parents.

This type of a divorce may or may not include alimony as part of the terms of the settlement. Spouses should become familiar with the guidelines for this as well as learn how to make realistic budgets for when they become newly single.

Further Reading

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