Silver Era Divorce Is on the Rise


Silver era divorce – also known as gray divorce – is on the rise across the nation, and it comes with its own unique set of challenging complications. The term silver era divorce generally applies to divorcing couples who are fifty and older and who have been married for many years – just when they are expected to stay the course and remain married throughout their final years. If you are facing a silver era divorce, you need an experienced California divorce attorney who has a wealth of experience guiding cases like yours toward advantageous outcomes.

The Statistics

Psychology Today shares several significant statistics related to gray divorce, including:

  • The divorce rate for people who are over 50 has doubled since 1990.
  • One factor among the many that contribute to sliver era divorces is the increased willingness many couples have to face relationship challenges head-on once they become empty nesters.
  • Research indicates that the number of gray divorces will triple by 2030.
  • The American Association of Retired Persons found that the number of divorces for those over the age of 50 doubled in the 20 years leading up to 2012 and that the number of divorces for those over 65 more than doubled.

There is no denying that silver era divorce is on the rise, and it’s important to recognize that these divorces often involve enhanced complications.

The Terms of Gray Divorce

The basic issues of divorce that generally apply across the board include the following:

While the matter of minor children is typically off the table by the time a gray divorce rolls around (or the matter is nearly resolved by the children becoming adults themselves), the divorce terms related to the division of community property and alimony can be enhanced. After many years of marriage, couples are more likely to have more complicated financials, and if one spouse stayed home to care for the children and home in support of the other spouse’s career throughout the marriage, alimony becomes that much more likely.

The Division of Your Community Assets

Those properties that a couple accumulates while married are deemed community property in California, and these assets must be divided equally between both spouses upon divorce. Factors that nearly universally make this division more complicated include high assets and business ownership – both of which are more likely in silver era divorces.

Those assets that a spouse brings into the marriage with him or her and keeps separate through the passage of time remain the separate property of that spouse. However, as marriages march forward through the years, the commingling of separate and community assets becomes far more likely and tends to make the division of community property far more complex. 


In California, one of the primary factors that help determine the amount and duration of alimony – or spousal support – is the number of years the couple was married, and with gray divorce, this determinative factor is typically established in support of more robust alimony. Further, the fact that the recipient of alimony in a gray divorce is less likely to be in a position to pursue a new career means that alimony is more likely to be long term.

Divorce Considerations

If you are facing a silver era divorce, there are several divorce concerns that you should not overlook as you move forward with the process:

  • Maintaining two households is always more costly than maintaining one, which means that both spouses should expect to experience a financial downturn.
  • Keeping the family home may be a nice idea in terms of maintaining your children’s home, but it can also become a money pit as you struggle to maintain it with one income and within your decreased financial standing.
  • If you were less involved in your marital finances than your spouse, it’s critical that you begin to carefully assess your community assets from the outset.
  • Losing sight of the tax implications of your divorce terms can leave you at a serious financial disadvantage over time.
  • You and/or your spouse’s retirement accounts can play a pivotal role in the division of your community assets and should be allowed the careful legal attention they require.

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced California Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a divorce in your 50s or beyond, you need a savvy California divorce attorney who has vast experience successfully addressing the issues of gray divorce in your corner.