In Florida and around the country, gray divorce is often used to refer to a divorce after age 50. Since couples who get divorced when they are older are near or past retirement age, these types can be especially financially devastating. While both spouses might face a substantial decline in their finances following the end of their marriage, the impact is greater on women than men.
Gray divorce statistics
According to researchers, 36% of all people who file for divorce are over the age of 50, and 34.9% are older than 55. This means that older couples are getting divorced at more than twice the rate of younger couples. When older men get divorced, they experience an average decline in their finances of 21%. The financial impact for older women is worse. They experience an average decline in their finances of 45%. Following a gray divorce, 14% of men and 21% of women live below the federal poverty line. Older women tend to have a large wage gap compared to men, and many have little work experience because of taking time away from work to raise their families. Others are in fields that have lower average salaries and might not be able to make ends meet following their divorces.
Handling a gray divorce
Older adults who are going through a divorce should take several steps to protect themselves, including the following:
• Take time to assess the value of all marital assets
• Consider downsizing instead of keeping the marital home because of maintenance, insurance, mortgage payments, and upkeep costs
• Consider the costs of health care, including long-term care costs
• Calculate potential tax consequences of various ways to divide assets
Before filing a divorce petition, it might be a good idea for an older adult to meet with a financial adviser who is not one that they share with their spouse. Doing this can help older adults understand the financial impact their divorce might have on them so that they can plan a budget that protects their ability to retire.