What Is Gray Divorce?

Hossein Berenji, Mar 20, 2023

Many people feel “gray” when they are sad or depressed. However, the term “gray divorce” does not refer to a spouse’s emotional state as they go through the divorce process. Instead, a gray divorce occurs when spouses who are over 50 years old end their marriage.

Gray divorce is becoming very common in the United States. The highest divorce rate in the country is for individuals between the ages of 55 to 64 years, according to the United States Census Bureau.

A gray divorce does not necessarily mean the couple has been married for decades. The couple might have been married for just a few years. However, the “gray” factor is the age of the spouses.

The divorce process is the same for older adults in California. However, depending on other factors, older couples might face unique challenges during a divorce that younger couples might not encounter.

Common Reasons for Gray Divorce in Los Angeles, CA

Many of the reasons an older couple decides to end their marriage are the same reasons younger couples divorce. However, some reasons for gray divorces are unique to the couple’s ages.

Causes of gray divorce in California include, but are not limited to:

  • A spouse engages in an affair, including emotional and physical cheating
  • Dealing with Empty Nest Syndrome after all of their children leave home
  • A decrease in emotional connections and intimacy
  • Growing distant from each other after years of being married
  • Drug addiction and alcoholism
  • One spouse wants to travel and try exciting adventures, but the other spouse is content to remain at home, living a quiet life
  • A lack of physical intimacy and sexual activity
  • The spouses have very different plans for their retirement years
  • Abuse and domestic violence
  • Arguments about financial matters, including retirement funds and estate planning

Older couples might have stayed together for decades because of their religious, moral, or social beliefs. At one time, being divorced was frowned upon, especially for women. In addition, some people view divorce as a failure, so a spouse might fear judgment from friends and family members.

However, attitudes about divorce have changed. Most people know at least one divorced couple. Furthermore, divorces are much easier and less expensive today, which could add to why gray divorces are increasing.

Factors Older Couples Need To Consider During a Gray Divorce in California

A couple’s circumstances generally dictate their issues during a divorce. For example, if a couple does not have minor children, they do not need to worry about child support or child custody. On the other hand, a couple with a high net worth could face a battle regarding property division.

Fortunately, California is a no-fault divorce state. A spouse can obtain a divorce by claiming irreconcilable differences. Therefore, you do not need to prove that your spouse committed adultery, abuse, or other wrongdoing to get a divorce.

Some issues related to gray divorce a person should discuss with their Los Angeles divorce lawyer include:

Property Division

California is a community property state for property division. Therefore, marital property is divided equally between spouses in most cases. Being a community property state can simplify some divorces.

However, older couples often have larger marital estates. They may own significant assets and assets that are more difficult to divide. The financial implications for someone who is or is about to retire could be complicated.

Older couples might need to consult several professionals during a gray divorce, including tax lawyers, retirement advisors, and estate planning lawyers.

Health Insurance and Healthcare

Healthcare for older adults can be costly. Finding another policy might not be easy if you lose your health insurance coverage. Therefore, older couples need to consider how a divorce impacts insurance coverage and the need to develop alternative resources if they need assistance with self-care.

Estate Planning and Retirement

Many couples in their 40s or 50s seriously consider retirement and estate planning. Some couples have significant resources, while others might worry about how they will pay for their retirement years. Additionally, retirement can significantly impact spousal support for older couples.

A gray divorce lawyer can help their client address these issues, including working with professionals to determine how the divorce impacts their retirement and estate plan. You might need to make significant changes to your plan.

Seek Legal Advice If You’re Considering a Gray Divorce in California

Many of the issues faced by couples going through a divorce can be resolved through mediation and settlement negotiations. First, however, you need to understand your legal rights and your options for obtaining your desired outcome.

Talking with a Los Angeles divorce attorney can help. You and your attorney can develop a strategy for dealing with issues in a gray divorce to minimize negative impacts on your life. Your lawyer can help ensure you receive your fair share of the resources, income, and property you need to transition back into a single person.

Contact a Beverly Hills Family Law Lawyer Today

If you’re going through a divorce, you need a strong team on your side fighting for your rights. Call Berenji & Associates today to know how we can assist you.

Beverly Hills Office
9595 Wilshire Blvd Ste 959
Beverly Hills CA 90212
(310) 271-6290

Los Angeles Office
550 S. Hill Street STE 1467
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 985-3007