A few considerations for older divorcing couples

The baby-boomer generation has always seemed front and center in news relating to social movements, lifestyle shifts, generational adjustments toward work/life balance and evolving attitudes toward marriage, divorce, retirement and even renewal in older age.

Given the playing out of the boomer demographics, with scores of millions of Americans now nearing or entering their retirement years, much attention has been given by family law commentators, financial planners, divorce experts and other interested parties to what has been termed “gray divorce.” Our readers will note that the phenomenon — the growing number of persons divorcing in their 50s and 60s — has been visited from time to time in prior select posts, and that it entails a number of distinct considerations.

One of those, say boomer authorities, is dealing with divorce both financially and emotionally, which can be a singular concern in a gray divorce in many respects, especially when compared to the divorces of younger people. A focus on things like child custody and child support is often and logically diminished for older divorcing couples, but is just as often replaced by age-specific concerns focused on the gravity of dissolution after many years or decades, coupled with uncertainty over the future.

Advice from family law experts often starts with the most fundamental of caveats, namely, take a breath and relax as you go about the process. As one counselor notes, couples married for decades are flatly going to be noting some differences in a divorce. That is understandable and OK.

As noted by one divorcing boomer: “We were together 30 years — We’re not going to figure out our entire divorce in a few months.”

That is certainly true. What is routinely emphasized for older divorcing persons is appreciation of that fact, coupled with the need to focus upon an equitable financial settlement that allows for security going forward and the knowledge that divorce — at any age — allows for fresh prospects and possibilities.

Huffington Post, “Gray divorce: How to make splitting later in life less stressful,” March 15, 2013

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