Choosing to end your marriage is always a difficult decision, but if you’re getting divorced at an older age, there are more factors to consider. However, that doesn’t mean that divorce at 60 is not common. Lately, these types of divorces are becoming more common, earning them their own names: Silver era divorce, gray divorce, and late-life divorce, to name a few.
If you’re considering a silver-era divorce, here are a few factors to consider to help you determine if it’s the right choice for you.
According to studies and articles, a societal shift in the meaning of marriage and the economic independence of both parties has led more couples to choose to end their marriage. More specifically, common reasons couples cite for pursuing a divorce are:
- Growing apart. In most silver-era divorces, there is no specific event or blowout that led to the decision to end the marriage. For many couples, they’ve spent the majority of their life together raising children and focusing on their careers, and when children grow up and retirement hits, they realize they don’t have as much in common anymore.
- Self-improvement. When individuals have more time to focus on themselves, many will decide they want to make a change in the way they are living. It may be more exercise, a change of scenery, and sometimes even a new life partner who may fit better with their new lifestyle.
- Money. When couples are busy working, raising kids, and bringing in the big bucks, there may be less of a focus on finances and spending habits. As the couple retires or starts to think about retiring, they may become more focused on their finances, and differences in spending habits may become very clear.
- Sex. Much like differences in spending habits, differences in sex drive can become clear as a marriage goes on.
- Active vs. passive lifestyle. If one partner wants to spend the days on the couch and the other wants to go out, there’s going to be some tension. If neither partner is willing to compromise, this lifestyle difference can end in unhappiness and potentially divorce.
Finances are a big factor in any divorce, but for those later in life, when retirement is approaching, finances can be even more important. If you’re considering ending your marriage later in life, it’s important that you reach out to an experienced divorce attorney who can help you make sure your financial situation is taken care of during your divorce.
Common financial concerns couples face when pursuing a silver era divorce include:
- Alimony. At this stage of life, alimony may be incredibly important. A spouse may not be able to make it alone financially or may not have money left over for their life if they need to pay alimony payments. In addition, since the couple may be more financially mature, there may be complex considerations when determining alimony, such as pension funds, RSUs, ownership stakes, or executive compensation packages.
- Social Security. It’s key to speak with a financial professional who understands social security when considering a silver-era divorce. Each party needs to understand the advantages and disadvantages of drawing off their own Social Security benefits vs. the other party’s benefits.
- Division of Assets. When ending a long-term marriage, there is generally a large number of assets to be divided. It can also be challenging to value assets that have been owned by the couple for a long time and to determine the designation of the property. California is a community property state, which means that any property acquired by the couple during their marriage is considered community property or owned together. Community property also includes all the earnings that each partner earned throughout the marriage. It can be challenging for couples to determine what is separate property and what is community property, especially when assets have been collected over many years. It’s crucial to have an experienced attorney and financial professional who can help with this task.
- The Home. While technically considered an asset and most likely a community property asset, for most couples, their home is in a category of its own. For many couples who choose a silver-era divorce, their current home may be too big for one person. Many older divorcees will choose to sell their marital home as part of the divorce, split the funds, and purchase smaller properties.
If you’re considering a silver-era divorce, reach out to an experienced California divorce attorney to help ensure your rights are protected.