Divorce Attorneys Report Uptick In Baby Boomer Divorces
Divorces involving baby boomer couples have risen significantly over the last several years. A recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that more than 60 percent of divorce lawyers in the United States have seen a noticeable uptake in divorces involving people who are over age 50. What’s more, women were much more likely than man to have initiated the split.
The reasons behind these so-called “grey divorces” are varied. Just as with divorces among younger people, infidelity and frequent fighting are commonly cited instigators. However, in many instances, couples simply end up realizing that they have drifted apart after spending so many years together. In some cases, couples who were staying together for the sake of their children find that they have little in common once the kids have gone off on their own. In others, the spouses retire, only to discover that they don’t actually enjoy spending that much time with each other.
Whatever the cause, most grey divorces happen because people decide they don’t want to spend the last portion of their lives being unhappy. However, while getting a divorce may be the right move, it is important to understand that a divorce involving an older couple can be much more complicated than a divorce between a couple who has only been married for a few years.
Some of the biggest issues that older couples face stem from the fact that their financial lives are so intertwined. During the divorce, they must work to separate their finances in a way that is equitable for both parties.
Spousal maintenance – also known as alimony – is very common in grey divorces, especially in situations where one spouse stayed at home to care for the children or earned significantly less than the other spouse. When deciding whether to award spousal maintenance (and how much to award) judges will look at a number of factors including the standard of living the couple enjoyed during their marriage, each spouse’s respective earning capacity and the non-financial contributions each spouse made to the household.
During divorce, couples will also have to divide their marital property. Generally speaking, this includes all assets, debts, real estate and personal property acquired during the marriage. For older couples, the most difficult part of this process often arises when it comes time to divide retirement accounts. It can be hard to predict how investments will perform over time, so it is important to have a property division order drafted that accurately reflects the true nature of the couple’s wishes.
These are only a few of the many issues that older couples will face if they decide to divorce. As such, it is important for each spouse to think about their individual goals and discuss them with an experienced family law attorney early on in the divorce process.