There are a number of reasons for which a long-term marriage may end in divorce. A so-called gray divorce of older, mature individuals can mean relief for a spouse who has suffered in a failing relationship for years. It can also bring formidable challenges unique to this phase of life.
Midlife extramarital affairs, anger management issues or just plain boredom can prompt older couples to give up on their marriage. Financial ruin, loss of a career or legal troubles such as incarceration can accelerate the downward spiral of a marriage toward divorce for older couples.
Whatever the causes of a “gray divorce”, the stakes can be especially high in the areas of:
- Asset division
- Assignment of mutual debts
- Division of retirement assets
- Allocation of ownership of the marital home and any other real estate owned by the couple
- Division of business assets (business valuation often presenting challenges)
- Health insurance after divorce for a nonworking spouse
- Spousal support (alimony)
Given these obstacles, those over 50 should consider consulting an attorney about the flexible and creative solutions make sense for their specific circumstances, such as collaborative divorce and mediation.