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What to Consider When Going through a Gray Divorce?

What Is a Gray Divorce?

Gray divorce is a term coined after the increasing trend of divorce occurring among older adults. In fact, a quarter of all divorces are made up of those 50 years old or older—with one in ten divorces coming from those over 65 years old.

No matter what age divorce occurs, it can be legally complex and fraught with emotion—and with so many gray divorces occurring after 20+ years of marriage, things can only become more muddled. From simply growing apart to “empty nest” syndrome or financial issues, once a divorce has been decided, there are a few things to consider for a smoother process.

5 Issues to Keep in Mind During a Gray Divorce

  1. Understand What Is Considered Communal Property

As California is a community property state, it is important to have a complete picture of your assets, including real estate, cars, debt, stock options, as well as retirement plans. Typically, gifts and inheritance are considered separate property unless they are co-mingled.

Because the older we get, the more things we acquire, it can make property division complex. Often this encourages couples going through a gray divorce to choose uncontested divorce, where the two parties work together to divvy assets in a way that is satisfactory to both of them outside of the court.

  1. Determine Spousal Support

Spousal support, or alimony, is based on income and calculated once child support is determined—if applicable. Income means more than just your base salary, and because those going through gray divorces are often well-established in their careers, it can make gauging this number more challenging. From bonuses and compensation packages to car allowances and travel perks, considering these common perks will ensure proper support. Another aspect to consider during the support negotiations is your social security, as you want to avoid giving over percentages of your social security whenever possible.

  1. Evaluate Your Life Insurance

When child support or spousal support orders are in place, the court will often require the individual paying to also have a life insurance policy. As we age, the premiums on life insurance policies go up, so if you don’t have one in place prior to divorce, the expense can be extreme—especially in conjunction with support payments. Deciding the total amount of the policy, who pays the premiums, and who the beneficiaries are can be major decisions during your divorce proceedings. Professionals such as divorce attorneys and financial advisors can be helpful resources to walk you through this process.

  1. Determine How Retirement Will Affect Your Divorce

When dividing assets, retirement benefits and savings are included. While California law stipulates that once you are eligible for retirement, you do not need to continue working purely to meet your support payments, retirement doesn’t automatically terminate spousal support. Post-retirement, you can petition to modify or terminate payment obligations with the court, claiming a material change in circumstance.

  1. Hire the Right Divorce Attorney

Having an experienced family law attorney on your side during your divorce proceedings can help you not only navigate the complex process but also work to find favorable outcomes for your financial future. This is true whether you choose either a contested or uncontested divorce. Because every divorce is unique, it’s important to find a lawyer that listens to your concerns and offers tailored legal advice to your specific circumstance.

At Singleton Smith Law Offices, Inc., we are committed to taking the legal stress of a gray divorce off your shoulders. We begin every case with a free consultation to better understand your needs. To learn more about our contested and uncontested divorce services, call our Murietta family law professionals today at (951) 779-1610 or fill out our online contact form.