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Grey Divorce: Important Considerations When Divorcing Later in Life

Grey Divorce: Important Considerations When Divorcing Later in Life

“Grey divorce” is a term that refers to the divorce of an older (“grey-haired”) couple, typically over the age of 50. Unique legal issues and practical considerations often arise in these divorces.

Reasons for Grey Divorce in Indiana

Indiana is a “no-fault” state, meaning that the dissolution of a marriage does not require a showing of wrongdoing by either party. For a general overview of divorce in Indiana and frequently asked questions, check out our blog post, Divorce in Indiana. While Indiana is a no-fault state, there are still many reasons an older couple may decide to get divorced. Common reasons include financial management, growing apart, and postponed divorces (i.e., divorces delayed until children have grown up and moved out).

Special Considerations in Grey Divorces

Here are some of the legal issues and practical considerations unique to grey divorces.

  • Health Insurance – During divorce proceedings, an order restraining the divorcing parties from changing insurance policies is automatically generated. However, the order ceases once the divorce is finalized—meaning one spouse will lose coverage if the couple had joint coverage. This is a significant consideration in grey divorce since individuals over 50 typically have more health-related issues and expenses than their younger counterparts.
  • Assets – Older individuals often have more assets than younger individuals. Additionally, the longer a couple has been married, the more intertwined their assets are. Indiana is an equitable state, meaning the court divides assets in a fair and equitable manner, which does not necessarily result in a 50-50 split. Sorting through many years’ worth of intertwined assets to determine an equitable division is not a quick and easy task.
  • Business Interests – Many older couples have business interests. Similar to the Asset consideration above, the financial implications of divorce can have significant implications for the couple’s business interests.
  • Retirement Accounts – When a couple plans for retirement, their retirement plans often assume that they will share financial resources during retirement. However, after a divorce, this financial assumption is no longer accurate. This can mean spending less in retirement, waiting longer to retire, and working part-time during retirement.
  • Social Security – The amount of one spouse’s Social Security benefits may be based on the ex-spouse’s benefits. The amount varies, depending on factors such as each spouse’s income and the duration of the marriage. Additionally, remarrying could stop spousal social security benefits. For more information, see our blog post, Social Security Retirement Benefits.
  • Other Considerations – Other considerations that may be relevant during a grey divorce include adult children (visitation, holiday schedules, etc.), long-term care, and of course, estate planning.

The implications of divorcing later in life can be far-reaching and significant. Not only can grey divorces be more complex, but they may also cost more and take considerably longer to complete than non-grey divorces. However, the family law attorneys at McNeelyLaw are here to help.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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