Gray divorce rates double over past two decades

As addressed in previous blog posts, “gray” divorces are on the rise and are occurring at surprising rates. A gray divorce refers to a divorce among a couple in the Baby Boomer generation. Worcester divorce lawyers have seen first hand the rise in gray divorces over the past several decades, and have experience dealing with the additional issues that come along with these divorces.

The numbers tell a surprising story. The divorce rate doubled among people 50 years or older between 1990 and 2010. In 2010, one in four divorces were among people in this age group. Experts speculate there are many reasons for the increase in divorce filings, including longer life spans.

Gray divorces can be both economically and emotionally devastating. Perhaps one of the most immediate economic consequences is on retirement. The money set aside to fund retirement must be split in half among the spouses. This can dramatically impact a prospective retirement lifestyle and may delay retirement altogether.

It is much more expensive to fund two separate retirements. Some prospect that retirement will cost 50% more for Baby Boomers who divorce. Those individuals who did not financially plan for their retirement are often even worse off. Maintaining separate households and dealing with unforeseen medical expenses are costly. People over the age of 50 are so close to retirement, there is not as much time to make up for the economic losses in a divorce.

In addition to the effects of gray divorce on retirement, other hardships come into play. Spousal support may be ordered, especially if one of the spouses didn’t work during childbearing years to care for the couple’s children. A division of marital property and debts a couple spent a lifetime accumulating must also take place. For these reasons, it is imperative to have the help of an experienced Massachusetts divorce attorney when contemplating a gray divorce.

Source: USA Today, “Boomer divorce: a costly retirement roadblock,” Rodney Brooks, Feb. 26, 2013