06 Mar

Financial Issues In “Grey Divorce”

Divorces between older couples who have been married a long time are sometimes referred to as “grey divorces.”  Sources say that while divorce rates overall have been dropping in the United States over the last 20 years, among those age 50 and above, it has been growing.

The financial part of a divorce is often difficult, but for senior citizens, it can be even more painful. Some of the reasons it can be harder for the older crowd:

  • One spouse may have little to no financial management experience. How will he or she manage household finances going forward?
  • Dividing retirement assets can be tricky. There may have been plenty of money available to retire and support one household, but two households may not be sustainable.
  • One or both spouses may be past the age at which they can expect to find reasonable employment.
  • Poor money choices during a long marriage may mean that there is not much to split, which can be a huge problem, especially if one spouse has no ability to obtain employment.
  • The spouse in charge of the money may have hidden assets, and it could be difficult for the other spouse to uncover them.
  • If one spouse has been the primary breadwinner throughout the marriage, he or she might view the retirement assets as belonging to him or her, creating a bigger fight.

With life expectancies increasing, retirement money has to last longer. That will necessarily be harder with two households to support.