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What Are Some of The Obstacles of Gray Divorce?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Feb. 18, 2020

While overall divorce rates have been on the decline for the past few years, gray divorce rates have been on the rise. Gray divorces are those involving older couples, many of whom have been together for 30 years or even more at the time of the divorce. Because of the length of the marriage, issues that arise during gray divorces are often harder to work out. Here are a few of the challenges facing older couples.

Asset Division

Separating marital property from personal property is exceedingly difficult when a marriage has spanned many decades. Equally complex is the division of things like income, including Social Security and retirement payouts. While it may seem unfair, shared income will be distributed equally, despite how much (or little) one spouse contributed during the course of the marriage.

Healthcare Costs

Many people have health insurance through a spouse’s employer-provided plan. After divorce, the unemployed spouse will be responsible for health insurance costs, and may not be able to afford them due to limited income. This is a much larger problem for older people, who often have more advanced medical issues that require continuous treatment. While asset division can be dictated by the court, the provision of health insurance cannot. That means the insured spouse can remove his or her ex from the policy at any time.

Dealing with Adult Children

While they are grown up and out of the home, adult children also feel an emotional impact when their parents are divorced. Divorce can be shocking after a couple has been married for so many years. Adult children may also be asked to play a greater role in the lives of their parents after the separation has taken place. For instance, if one spouse contributed to the care of their ailing spouse, an adult child may be asked to fill that role going forward.