Late Life Divorce



Grey divorce, also known as elder divorce, late-life divorce or long-term marriage divorce, is a startling phenomenon on the rise in the US. According to a Bowling Green State University study, the divorce rate for those over age 50 has doubled from 1990 to 2010. For married couples over the age of 65, it has more than doubled. For other age groups in the same period, the rate has stabilized or dropped. Divorce rates usually peak during tough economic times and has mirrored the housing crisis of the last decade. What’s even more troubling, is that the trend is not for the ordinary suspects such as people who remarried or don’t have a college education, but half of all grey divorces are between couples in their first marriages.


Grey divorce, also known as silver divorce – is now the norm. There’s a trend with women initiating 66 percent of divorces after age 40 as well, according to AARP. Also, by the time people are around their 50’s, their children are settled and have their own lives, and married couples do not feel the obligation or duty to stay just for the kids. It seems like many couples are separating at later ages due to irreconcilable differences, and to pursue personal pursuits, hobbies, goals, even bucket-list items. Some of these elements require travel or even relocation, and that is where the disagreements begin. In the later stages of life, it seems that even if it reduces income or retirement, even into poverty, to have the life experiences is worth more than the money, or financial status.

Perhaps the people felt a good fit when they were in their 20’s and 30’s, but then later realize they do not have much in common. Sometimes it takes 40 years to realize this. It is not just an American trend either; divorce data shows that it is happening in other developed countries, such as France. In Japan, it is known as retired husband syndrome. When the male devotes so many years and the majority of the hours in those years to his career, he may rarely see his family. The husband and wife interact so little that when they retire and have all that time together, they feel as if they are strangers. I guess this is what happens with divorce after 45, divorce after 55 and even divorce after 65.

It is a strange trend, and it is not sure if it will continue into younger generations after the baby boomers, such as Gen X and Millennials. Popular with younger generations is being more selective and tied to education. The trend is deepest with those ages 40-49, and starting to increase rapidly with those ages 50-59.


One of the most crucial things to understand about grey divorce is that it is unique from other forms of divorce. The end goals may be the same, but the process of getting there is a lot different for older couples in San Diego and Point Loma who decide to end a marriage. A grey divorce lawyer can help you work through the details as they apply to your divorce. But it is important to have a general understanding before electing to start the process. These are the most important things you need to know according to a grey divorce lawyer:

  • Alimony is Almost Certain – When younger couples divorce they may reach a temporary alimony agreement. But since the people involved in grey divorce are older, tend to have been married for longer, and may have already passed retirement age, alimony is typically granted for life. A grey divorce lawyer can help you contest this requirement or fight for a lower alimony payment.
  • Retirement Savings are in Play – Even in instances where one party is clearly at fault in a divorce, it is common for retirement savings to be split evenly between the two parties. That can have huge financial consequences for all involved. A grey divorce lawyer can help ensure your interests are represented fairly.
  • The House is an Issue – Some people insist on keeping the house, others could not care less. Be aware that if you end up keeping the house you will likely give up something else. A grey divorce lawyer can help you fight for the assets that have the most value to you.
  • Kids are Always Involved – Even if your children are grown and independent, they could still prove to be a factor in your divorce. Partnering with a grey divorce lawyer can help ensure your children are not negatively affected by the end of a marriage.
  • Civility is Important – No divorce is better if it is contentious and bitter. But an overly friendly attitude does not necessarily serve your interests either. A grey divorce lawyer can help you strike a tone that works to your advantage.
  • Think about a Prenup – After your divorce, don’t discount the idea of another marriage late in life. But be sure to learn from the mistakes of the previous one. Your grey divorce lawyer may also be able to help you draft a prenuptial agreement to help make your next marriage more civil.


Point Loma based Divorce attorney Michelle Paul is the number one choice for people in the San Diego area, when it comes to choosing a grey divorce lawyer. She has helped many people through the difficult process of ending a marriage, and has done so under settings that range from amicable divorces to the more bitterly contested divorce disputes. Going through a divorce can be a difficult emotionally, but the divorce process can be simple with Attorney Michelle Paul at your side! Call 619-624-3333 today for a free initial phone consultation!


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