There is a common misconception that divorce is for the young or those who are going through a mid-life crisis. However, in America, there has been a growing trend of older couples who have made it past these hurdles, yet still getting divorced. Gray divorce refers to a demographic of older couples in long-lasting marriages. Fifty years ago, only about 3 % of individuals over the age of 50 were divorced. Today, that figure has increased to more than 15%. Approximately 1 in every 4 divorces is a couple who is over the age of 50.
The primary reason for this significant increase in older couples divorcing is the longer lifespan of the average American. Not only are people divorcing later in life due to living longer, but people are getting married later in life. Further, individuals may be experiencing their second or even third marriages, which are more likely to result in divorce than first marriages.
There are a number of issues that individuals who are divorcing later in life need to consider before filing the paperwork. In Colorado, the longer you are married, the longer you will receive or pay maintenance (alimony). Further, if you have been married over 20 years, there is a chance that maintenance could be until one of the parties dies. Also, the longer two individuals are married, the more difficult it is to determine the value of any pre-marital property. Many financial institutions only keep records for 7-10 years. If you have a pre-marital account that was set up 20 years ago, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to determine the premarital value. Moreover, in most long term marriages, most of the current property owned by the parties was purchased during the marriage or commingled during the marriage making it marital property. Therefore, in these cases, it is important to understand that the majority of the time, the Courts will divide all the property equally.
These divorces later in life can cause irreparable financial harm for the remainder of your life. Further, these divorces can also be complicated, as many of these individuals are living on fixed incomes per their retirement or social security. Thus, it is critical that you secure good representation to navigate you through the “gray” divorce process.
For all your divorce and family law needs, please contact the Domestic Team at Cantafio and Song, PLLC.