A gray divorce is one that occurs when a couple is past the age of retirement and the spouses have spent decades together. Long-term marriages can lead to more emotional and complicated divorce proceedings.
Although you shouldn’t stay in an unhealthy marriage simply out of fear of the possible financial or social consequences of a divorce, you do need to plan carefully if you want to minimize the negative impact of ending your marriage.
By identifying the biggest concerns now before you file, you can more easily navigate the complexities of a gray divorce later.
The financial impact
What it costs to end a marriage will depend on how much you and your ex fight. Uncontested divorces are often more affordable than litigated ones, but when you have more to divide, you have more to fight over with your ex.
You may both feel strongly about certain terms regarding spousal support or who gets to keep the home where you raised your children together. Especially if you cannot reach a settlement with your ex, you should expect significantly diminished resources after divorce.
Some people continue working longer than they hoped after divorcing, while others may need to move in with family or take on roommates after a divorce.
The family consequences
You might think that because your children are older or that you are now a grandparent that the family will handle the divorce without much issue. However, older children may feel strongly that one parent did something wrong and are more likely to have intense and outspoken negative reactions to their parents’ divorce than younger children.
Your children may resent the implications of your divorce for its impact on their current financial support or their inheritance. Especially if you must turn to your children for help instead of helping them cover the costs of raising your children, they may angry about the decision to divorce.
You need to create realistic expectations about what this divorce will mean for you and your family before you file. Planning carefully before you take action when considering a gray divorce will make it easier for you and your family you adjust to your changing circumstances.