There used to be a common cultural belief that young people were more likely to get divorced, but that is no longer the case. According to social data, divorces among the younger generations, including Millennials, have declined in recent years.

However, divorces among older adults close to or past the age of retirement have been on the rise. In fact, divorces among couples over the age of 50 have doubled in the last few decades. These so-called gray divorces reflect changing cultural attitudes about divorce and the golden years of life. People don’t want to spend their retirement years in an unhappy marriage and no longer have to worry about social judgments for seeking their freedom and future happiness.

While a gray divorce can open up opportunities for you to live your best life, it can also generate unique concerns that you should address early in the process. 

Divorce is expensive and reduces your financial assets

Even in the best of circumstances, divorce costs thousands of dollars. Between court costs, attorney fees and other secondary expenses, such as the services of a mediator or forensic accountant, divorce can produce a substantial bill for both you and your spouse.

Additionally, one of the most important parts of the divorce process will be financially disentangling yourself from your spouse. That means dividing your assets and debts. In other words, in most cases, you won’t have the full balance of your retirement account in your own name after a divorce.

Have you thought about what your retirement will look like after divorce?

Splitting your retirement benefits and bank accounts with your ex will mean having substantially less money to see you through your retirement. If you are still employed, you may want to stay at work for a few extra years to make up for those lost retirement funds. Working part-time can be a way to balance your desire for freedom with the need for greater financial reserves.

If you are already very near retirement or have retired, returning to work may neither be attractive nor feasible. Finding ways to reduce the cost of your retirement can be a way to make retirement or at least quasi-retirement a possibility after a gray divorce.