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Everything you need to know about gray divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Divorce

Gray divorce, a term used for divorces among people 50 and older, is becoming more common.

If you are thinking about or getting a gray divorce, it helps to understand the unique challenges and considerations. For example, retirement may be more of a concern.

Financial considerations

One of the primary considerations in a gray divorce is the financial aspect. Unlike younger couples, older individuals are closer to retirement or already retired and may have significant assets.

Dividing these assets can be complex. Retirement accounts, pensions and Social Security benefits are major factors. They can affect each person’s financial stability post-divorce.

California is a community property state, meaning that assets and debts acquired during the marriage are typically divided equally. However, the division of retirement benefits and other long-term investments may require careful planning to ensure fairness and financial security for both parties.

Health and insurance

Many older couples rely on one partner’s employer-provided health insurance. After a divorce, the non-employee spouse may lose coverage. It is important to explore options such as COBRA, private insurance or Medicare to ensure continuous health coverage.

Additionally, considering the increased likelihood of health issues as people age, a solid plan for health care and long-term care is important. This may include updating medical directives and ensuring access to necessary medical services.

Emotional impact

Gray divorce can bring unique emotional stress. Older adults may face loneliness, changes in social circles and the psychological impact of ending a long-term relationship. Support from friends, family or support groups can be valuable in navigating these emotional challenges.

Estate planning

Gray divorce often necessitates revisiting estate planning. Wills, trusts and beneficiary designations may need updating to reflect the new marital status. Estate planning may also include updating power of attorney documents to designate trusted individuals for financial and health care decisions.

Gray divorce in California presents distinct challenges. Careful planning and support can help people build a fulfilling life post-divorce.