From 1990 to 2014 the divorce rate for spouses over the age of 50 has doubled. For spouses over the age of 65, the rate has tripled. This means that more so-called "gray divorces" are happening at this time than ever before.
Just because spouses have more life experience at this age, however, does not mean that their divorces will be any easier. In fact, due to the complexities of shared assets and shared retirement savings plans, breaking up after 50 can be a lot more complicated financially than it is for younger couples.
2 difficult financial realities that affect older divorcees
Here are two difficult financial realities that every elderly divorcee needs to keep in mind:
You may have to accept a lower standard of living: A two-person household gets to split important expenses related to meals, housing, utilities, vehicles, health insurance and other expenses. Sharing expenses like this offers enormous cost savings to married couples.
When couples split up, they need to realize that they will be financially responsible for themselves and they will also have half the savings and half the income to take care of themselves. As such, if you're planning to get a divorce as an elder person, your first order of business should be the creation of a budget to determine how much money you'll need to cover your monthly expenses.
You may need to sell your family home: If you and your soon-to-be ex are like most American couples, the vast majority of your wealth is tied up inside the family home. If you're lucky, your home is valuable enough that you could sell it and buy a new, smaller home after splitting the sales proceeds with your ex.
Although it will be difficult to sell the family home you've enjoyed for so many years, this could be one strategy that spouses can employ to be financially solvent and financially self-sufficient following a divorce after 50. If the family home proceeds are not sufficient to buy another residence, the proceeds could still be of enormous benefit to spouses following an elderly divorce.
Plan ahead for your gray divorce
Surviving your gray divorce successfully will be all about planning. Be sure to know your financial needs and know your asset division rights before going into the divorce process. Your knowledge in this regard will help protect your property rights and future financial health during your golden years to come.