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What Does Gray Divorce Mean?

by Sharon Jackson  on April 20, 2021 under 

An article by the L.A. Times discussing the divorce of Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, highlighted that divorce after age 50 has doubled in the U.S. since 1990. Divorce after 50 is commonly called “gray divorce” - and it's on the rise in 2021. Nationally, divorce rates have lowered in 2020 and into 2021 but gray divorce rates are climbing. A recent article in the New York Times said that while divorce inquiries were on the rise for the first seven months of the pandemic, often due to forced proximity, in the past 10 months divorce rates have declined, also attributed to the pandemic.

The rate of divorce of couples over 65 is even higher. Why is gray divorce on the increase?

Why Is Gray Divorce Increasing?

The nationwide increase in gray divorce can be due to many different factors:

  • Baby Boomers are living longer, have better health and expect a more active, happier lifestyle in their later years
  • Women with careers and their own assets and retirement benefits are more financially independent
  • Stigma concerning infidelity has decreased
  • Empty-nest syndrome leads many individuals to want more from life
  • Some couples consider a long marriage a success even though they decide to go their separate ways and divorce in their senior years
  • People are more active and seeking new activities at a later age than previous generations, and may meet someone new, fall in love and decide to divorce

The pandemic also influenced gray divorce. Older couples who survived the pandemic with their health and wealth in tact may want more from life and are less willing to settle for their old lifestyle - and old marriage.

Gray Divorce In Georgia

The financial impacts of a divorce can be daunting at any age, but a gray divorce can have extra challenges. If an older couple has financial challenges, they have less time to recoup and rebuild their portfolio. If it is a high net worth gray divorce, and it is not wanted by both parties, the person who does not want to divorce may fight harder to stop the divorce and be less willing to accept the proposed asset division and divorce terms. A contested divorce will entail financial disclosures, an effort at mediation, and repeated hearings.

Division of Assets
Property acquired during the marriage is to be equitably divided between the spouses under Georgia law. Property that a spouse acquires during the marriage is marital property, and assets such as pensions, 401(k)s and retirement savings must be divided equitably between both spouses.

Alimony
A Georgia judge uses their discretion to set the amount of alimony and the duration of support. The monetary value of alimony is particularly significant in divorces involving parties with high net worth or valuable assets. A judge, however, will not award alimony automatically in every divorce case in Georgia. The purpose of alimony is to provide financial equity in a divorce. It is awarded in proportion to the needs of the dependent spouse, and the circumstances of the paying spouse. This is why a decision is based on both need and the ability to pay.

Are You Over 50 And Divorcing in Georgia?

Most spouses can benefit from working with an experienced divorce and family law attorney. In gray divorce, and particularly a contested divorce, a lawyer can protect your rights and ensure that the divorce settlement is fair and will support your future needs. If you are over 50 and divorcing, you will need the comprehensive and thorough guidance of a skilled divorce lawyer who knows the best actions you should take to protect your future.

For effective legal representation that meets your divorce needs in Atlanta, call Attorney Sharon Jackson at (678) 436-3636 or contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

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