- Empty nesters and retirees no longer have children or careers to distract them from their relationship;
- The couple may have married because it was expected rather than because they were compatible;
- A midlife crisis can make people anxious to create a more satisfying life while they can still enjoy it; and
- People can change after decades of marriage.
Whatever the reason is for ending the marriage, gray divorce can be complicated for everyone involved.
Division of Property
Spouses who have been married for decades will have accumulated numerous marital properties that they must divide in the divorce. They are also more likely to have high-value assets that they were able to purchase after years of saving money. Retirement plans have unique importance during a gray divorce. Each spouse will soon be relying on his or her retirement benefits, which have had time to accrue great value. In most cases, either the whole retirement plan is marital property or the amount that it increased in value since the spouses were married. Spouses must determine how much of the retirement money that they want to protect and what they would give up in exchange....