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What is a Gray Divorce? | What to Know

Today, many people choose to get divorced. Couples over 50 have been getting divorced more and more frequently. This may be due to a number of different reasons. For example, many people wait to get divorced until their kids have grown up and left the house. Other people simply grow apart over the years. A couple over the age of 50 will go through what is called a gray divorce. Read on to learn more about gray divorce and what it entails.

What is a Gray Divorce?

A gray divorce is a divorce that occurs between couples over the age of 50. These divorces have a specific name because the frequency of divorce for couples in this age group has greatly increased in recent years. Additionally, because these couples are over 50, they may have to deal with certain issues that other couples may not have to face. For example, some parties will be ordered to pay open durational alimony. Couples who were married or in a civil union for more than 20 years may be required to pay this type of alimony. Additionally, these couples usually don’t have to deal with the matter of child custody. 

What are Important Gray Divorce Issues to be Aware Of?

There are many issues that can be presented during a gray divorce, such as the following: 

  • Determining alimony duration and amount
  • Determining marital property vs. separate property
  • Establishing whether inheritances can be divided
  • Alimony negotiations when one spouse is collecting social security off the other’s earnings
  • Whether or not a new life insurance policy is needed
  • Dividing pension plans or other retirement accounts
  • Whether or not they are required to pay for their children’s college education through child support

Why Is Mediation Beneficial During a Gray Divorce?

When it comes to later in life divorces, many couples are turning to mediation. Mediation may be especially beneficial in a gray divorce because:

  • Divorces can be expensive. Spouses at a later age may either be retired or planning to retire soon. Instead of spending money on litigation, they may want to protect their retirement funds by utilizing mediation, which is generally the more economical option. 
  • Divorces can take years and couples at these ages may not want to spend their time divorcing through litigation. Mediation can be a much quicker process.
  • Divorce is stressful. At this age, individuals may be facing other pressing issues such as medical issues, their jobs, caring for elderly parents, supporting their children, etc. Mediation can be a more peaceful process that can reduce some of the stress of the situation. 

Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your divorce today. Our team of attorneys is here to advocate for you and walk you through the process.


If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today