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Financial pitfalls of the gray divorce phenomenon

The rate of people getting divorced, in general, is on the decline in New Jersey and around the country. However, the rate for those over 50 has increased significantly in recent years, resulting in the coining of the term "gray divorce." In addition, studies show that a person who has been divorced once is more likely to do it again than a person who never ended a marriage. An extreme example of this is that of well-known TV personality Larry King, age 83, who is ending his eighth marriage.

There are many sobering issues around the gray divorce phenomena, not the least of which are financial ones. A couple parting ways in their 20s or 30s still have their prime earning years ahead of them. For a couple nearing retirement, this is not the case. The situation can be particularly dire for a woman who spent most of her adult life caring for a home and children rather than focusing on a career.

Divorce is seldom a simple undertaking, and one between an older couple can be financially challenging. According to a report by the Government Accountability Office, a single person who is aged 65 or older requires 79% of the income that he or she enjoyed as part of a two-person household. When marital assets are divided, issues such as growth potential and tax implications must be carefully considered.

No one knows the number of days he or she has on earth. Financial planning and appropriate asset distribution are critical to helping to ensure that a person has sufficient funds to live out the balance of his or her life. "Gray divorce" is not something to be entered lightly. An older person in New Jersey who is considering separating or ending a marriage could derive benefit from consulting with an experienced family law attorney.

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