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What issues take center stage in a ‘grey divorce’?

People in Redwood City may have noticed that the overall divorce rate in our nation has been on the downswing the past two decades. However, the divorce rate of those age 50 and older has seen an uptick over the years. In what is referred to as a “grey divorce,” these older couples face issues their younger counterparts do not.

For example, people in their 20s, 30s or even 40s who decide to divorce may still have minor children living at home. This means child custody and child support will be two primary divorce legal issues that these couples will have to sort out. However, couples in their 50s and older may have raised their children, who are now adults living on their own. Therefore, those going through a grey divorce generally do not have to grapple with child custody or child support, as these issues are not applicable to their lives.

However, property division and spousal support can be greater sources of contention in a grey divorce than they are for younger couples. Older couples generally have accumulated more in the way of assets than their younger counterparts. Oftentimes they are homeowners, and they likely have pensions and retirement accounts, which leads to another point. Couples going through a grey divorce are often nearing retirement or are already retired.

Therefore, the issue of spousal support is important, especially if one partner stayed out of the workforce while married. That partner may have a difficult time finding appropriate employment, due in part to their age. And, if their ex is retired, then he or she is probably living on a fixed income, which could also affect spousal support. Couples going through a grey divorce will need to ensure that their assets are divided in a way that accounts for retirement, and that any spousal support award is fair to both parties.

Older couples may have good reasons for deciding to divorce after decades of marriage, but they should understand that they will face certain issues in doing so. Divorce can be complex no matter how old you are. Therefore, it can help to seek professional guidance if you are contemplating divorce, to better understand your legal options.

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Joseph R. Zoucha, Attorney & Counselor at Law
520 Warren Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone: 650-381-9591
Fax: 650-261-9650
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