Three Strategies to Reduce Gray Divorce Financial Complexities


Divorce is plenty complicated enough. Between the emotional upheaval and the need to protect your financial rights throughout the process, it is a lot. If, however, you are facing a gray divorce, you can expect it to be even more challenging. Fortunately, there are three important strategies you can implement to help turn the heat down on the financial complexities you face, and a dedicated California divorce attorney with considerable experience successfully handling complicated gray divorce cases can help you with that.

Gray Divorce

Gray divorce refers to divorces between couples who are generally in their 50s or older who divorce after many years of marriage. This has become something of a trend in the United States. In fact, while divorce rates have, in general, decreased over the last two decades, gray divorces are on the rise. While child custody concerns – a primary divorce complication – are less likely to play a role in gray divorce, the wealth generated by older couples helps to ensure that the division of marital property and alimony are that much more challenging.

Considering the Challenges Ahead

If you married young, were married for many years, and are now facing a gray divorce, it’s very likely that the vast majority of your assets – if not all – are community property that must be divided between you equally upon divorce. Further, couples engaged in gray divorces are more likely to follow the template of one spouse being the primary breadwinner (while the other stayed home to care for the children and run the household). As such, one spouse is more likely to take a considerable financial hit upon divorce, which makes alimony a greater possibility. Finally, because gray divorce does happen later in life, the recipient of alimony is unlikely to become financially independent after divorce, which means that the alimony is more likely to be long term.

One: Know What You’ve Got

One of the most important steps you can take in any divorce is gathering the documents and supporting information related to your assets (as offset by your debts). If you have had less involvement in your family’s finances, this step is that much more important. Before you can divide your assets, you need to know what you have, and once you do, it allows you to move forward with greater purpose (and greater understanding). As you go about gathering this information, keep all the following in mind:

  • Wage records for you and your spouse
  • Tax records going back several years
  • Your financial portfolio, including all investments, stocks, bonds, commodities, cash, and cash equivalents
  • Titles to vehicles and recreational vehicles
  • Documentation related to any collections, such as art or jewelry, or to anything else of value that you own
  • Your deed to your home or your mortgage
  • Documentation related to any property or business ownership

With this information, you’ll be far better prepared to make the right decisions for you moving forward. An important point to make here is that gray divorces often require forensic accounting and expert financial witnesses. 

Two: Make Educated Decisions

If you are going through a gray divorce, there is a lot to consider. While child custody may not be a concern, your children’s higher education might be. If paying for your children’s college education is important to you, addressing the matter in your divorce is key. A verbal agreement between you and your divorcing spouse is unlikely to get the job done, but if you include terms in your divorce settlement, you can consider the matter taken care of. Further, it might be a good time to reconsider the matter of your home. While you may be inclined to remain in your family home, there could be good reasons for considering alternatives. Financing a large home on your own can be challenging, but it may also simply be too large for the reality of your post-divorce life.

Three: Work Closely with an Experienced California Divorce Attorney

If you are facing a gray divorce, the most important step you can take to protect your financial rights is to seek out the professional legal counsel of a trusted divorce attorney. Gray divorce is simply too complex to leave to chance.

A Dedicated California Divorce Attorney Can Help

Gray divorce puts you in a financially vulnerable position. A California divorce attorney, however, will skillfully advocate for your legal rights – in pursuit of a case resolution that works for you as you move forward into your new beginning.