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The unique priorities of “gray divorce”

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Divorce

Everyone’s goals and priorities are different in divorce. These are often determined by what stage of life they’re in. Younger divorcing couples often just want to end their marriage and move on. Couples with children are generally most concerned with how they’ll reduce the stress on them and co-parent successfully.

Couples in their 50s and older typically are more concerned with the financial elements of the divorce – especially if the marriage lasted decades. They want to move into the next phase of their lives with financial security. Let’s look at a few things that it’s important to prioritize if you’re considering what’s been termed “gray divorce.”

Asset division

If you have one or more properties as well as investments and retirement accounts, you want to ensure that you get a fair portion of these assets. Contrary to popular belief, just because California is a “community property” state, that doesn’t necessarily mean each spouse gets precisely half of all marital assets (or is responsible for half of the marital debt).

Spousal support (alimony)

If you have been in and out of the workplace over the years to raise your children or maybe even help your spouse start a business, you likely can’t become self-supporting right away. If you’ve been able to live a comfortable life largely based on your spouse’s income (and your contributions to managing your home and family), you have a right to seek spousal support that will allow you to continue that.

Health insurance

This is not the stage of life where you want to find yourself without health insurance. If you’ve been covered under your spouse’s plan (and you’re not yet old enough for Medicare), be sure you get your own coverage before your divorce is final. You can get coverage through if you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan.

These are just a few things you’ll likely want to focus on as you begin divorce negotiations. If large and complex assets are at stake, it’s wise to get your own financial and tax advisors (not those who have worked for you and your spouse over the years) and, of course, experienced legal guidance.