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What is a Gray Divorce and What You Need to Know

Couples can divorce at any age and stage of their marriage, but when older couples –typically those ages 50 and older – get divorced after a longer-term marriage, it’s often referred to as a gray divorce. 

Gray divorce rates are on the rise in the U.S. and have nearly doubled since the 90s, according to the Pew Research Center. The reasons vary but include factors like divorce being less stigmatized now than it was in the past, longer life expectancies leading couples to question whether or not they can really handle “till death do us part,” and couples simply choosing to postpone their divorces in order to keep their family unit intact while raising them. 

Regardless of the reason, divorce after a longer-term marriage can be complicated as lives, families and finances have been intertwined for years. Untangling each and every one of those pieces can be emotionally exhausting and fraught with conflict. 

Preparing Emotionally and Financially for a Gray Divorce

The decision to divorce always comes with a significant amount of considerations for both parties. For women in particular, gray divorces can leave them financially vulnerable. 

According to Kiplinger, the average women’s income falls by more than a fifth after divorce and remains low for many years. For anyone, becoming financially independent as you near retirement can be a challenge all its own. 

To make things easier and more stable after divorce, it’s important to plan and prepare ahead of time. If you’re considering a gray divorce in Florida, here are some steps you can take now:

  • Get in touch with a family law attorney right away – If you’re contemplating divorce, schedule a case evaluation as soon as possible to begin familiarizing yourself with the legal process for divorce, as well as understanding your rights and options for a fair and equitable split. 
  • Understand your financial position – Going from married to single could change your financial position significantly. Educate yourself now on your existing assets, debts, income and expenses. Work with a financial advisor to develop a realistic financial plan and build a budget for your post-divorce life. Things will likely look different, but with planning and preparation, you can position yourself solidly for the future.
  • Don’t just bank on alimony – While there is generally a stronger case for spousal support in long-term marriages, it’s not something you should rely on as you make your financial plan. The decision to award alimony is based on several factors per Florida Statute §61.08, including the duration of the marriage and the age of each party. Work with your attorney and financial advisor to understand your legal and financial outlook.

Lastly, preparing for divorce is not something you should do alone. Find support in your friends and family to help you cope during this difficult time. 

Our team at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group is here to help too. Contact us today to learn more about how we partner with you before, during and after this major life transition.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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