Crystal Wright | March 1, 2023 | Divorce
Divorces are increasing for older adults. Adults between the ages of 55 to 64 years have the highest divorce rate in the nation, according to the United States Census.
The term “gray divorce” is being used to describe divorces when spouses are over 50 years old. Some sources use the spelling “grey” when discussing gray divorces. Regardless of how you spell it, divorces for older couples have unique challenges.
What Could Cause a Gray Divorce in Georgia?
A couple decides to divorce for unique reasons. The reasons for gray divorces are as varied and personalized as the reasons for getting married.
Gray divorce includes couples who have been married for decades. It also includes couples who are divorcing after their second or third marriage. The focus of a gray divorce is on the age of the spouses.
Common causes of gray divorce include, but are not limited to:
- Spouses grow apart after years of sharing a life together
- One partner desires more adventure or fulfillment
- A spouse has a physical or emotional affair
- Domestic violence and abuse
- Lack of intimacy, including sexual relations and emotional connection
- A couple struggles to adjust to “Empty Nest Syndrome” when their last child leaves home
- Arguments about finances, including estate planning
- Substance abuse and addiction
- The couple has different plans for their retirement years
Another reason for the increase in the number of gray divorces could be attributed to less stigma about divorce. Older couples might not have considered divorce as an option for ending an unhappy marriage. They believed they had to make the marriage work regardless of the circumstances.
Today, most people know several individuals who are divorced. Divorces are less costly and easier to obtain. Furthermore, older couples often have the resources to pay for a divorce lawyer they might not have had when they were younger.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in Georgia?
States with no-fault divorces do not require a spouse to prove wrongdoing to obtain a divorce. Georgia has no-fault and fault grounds for divorces. The fault grounds for divorce in Georgia are:
- Mental incapacity of a spouse at the time the couple married
- Habitual intoxication
- Marriage between family members prohibited by degrees of kinship
- Cruel treatment
- Habitual drug addictions
- Fraud, force, duress, or menace in obtaining the marriage
- Impotence at the time the parties married
- Being convicted of a crime of moral turpitude that results in a prison sentence of two or more years
- The wife was pregnant by another man when the couple married, and the husband was not aware of the pregnancy
Georgia also allows couples to obtain a no-fault divorce because the marriage is irretrievably broken. Therefore, one spouse can claim the marriage cannot be saved to obtain a divorce. The other spouse would be unable to stop the divorce on no-fault grounds.
Factors Couples Should Consider During a Gray Divorce
The issues a couple faces during the divorce process depend on their case’s circumstances and facts. However, a gray divorce could raise issues specific to older couples. If you are over 50 and seeking a divorce, issues that you should address with a Lawrenceville divorce lawyer include the following:
Healthcare and Health Insurance
In a marriage, one spouse might have the couple’s health insurance coverage through their job. However, a spouse might not have insurance coverage if the couple divorces.
After 50, it can be difficult to obtain a health insurance policy. The coverage might not be as comprehensive as a family plan through an employer. You might also pay much higher premiums as you age.
Another issue in gray divorce is self-care. Do you have a plan for who will care for you if you become ill or incapacitated? It is crucial to plan for these events because you do not have a spouse you can count on to provide care and support.
Gray divorces can involve large marital estates. Older couples have had more time to accumulate wealth and assets. Furthermore, there could be items that have sentimental value to both spouses.
Dividing the assets from a lengthy marriage might cause emotional distress as you pick apart decades together. Additionally, property division could have significant financial implications. Therefore, you might want to consult a tax professional in addition to estate planning lawyers and retirement professionals.
Estate Planning and Retirement
A gray divorce raises issues about retirement funds and estate planning. Couples over 50 years old could have substantial funds in their retirement accounts. They might also have considerable life insurance coverage.
Estate planning can be a complicated matter. You should discuss this issue with your Lawrenceville divorce lawyer. You might need to execute a new Will, power of attorney, HIPAA form, and health care directive.
The division of retirement plans can also be challenging. A spouse who did not work outside the home might not own a retirement account. Dividing retirement funds could have tax consequences and long-term financial implications.
All of these issues impact alimony or spousal support. The spouse with a lower income might require assistance to transition to living independently.
Seek Legal Advice Before Making Any Changes
A Lawrenceville divorce lawyer with experience handling gray divorces understands the issues that must be addressed. Proceeding with a gray divorce without legal representation could result in a divorce settlement that leaves you without the income, resources, and property you need to begin life as a single adult again. Protect your future by seeking legal advice about a divorce proceeding.
Contact the Divorce Lawyers at Crystal Wright Law To Get Legal Assistance Today
To learn more and get the help you deserve, call our divorce & family law firm at (404) 594-2143 or reach out to Crystal Wright Law online by visiting our contact us page.
You can also visit our law firm at 440 S. Perry Street Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.