The divorce trend over 50 has become commonly referred to as a “Gray Divorce”.
The rate of so-called “gray divorce” amongst this segment of the population, otherwise known as the baby boomer generation, has nearly doubled over the last 20 years with plenty of famous examples in popular culture, such as Bill and Melinda Gates. Divorce at any age has its unique complications, but for those over 50 choosing to end their marriage, there are important factors to consider and manage. This is particularly true of the financial implications that come with dividing a marital estate as a couple is entering into retirement. The decision to divorce must contemplate things like healthcare costs, retirement savings, estate planning, and taxes to name just a handful.
While no one should be forced to live out their days in a bad marriage, I do believe anyone considering divorce, and maybe especially at an older age or lengthy marriage, must be especially realistic about what lies ahead. Questions like, “what do I gain by divorcing” must be balanced against the equally important question of “what will I lose?” And these answers are going to be different if you were a dependent spouse or not, whether you have children or not, and what assets you have accumulated or not. There may be a lot of difficult days to navigate to get to a greener pasture, and it best to be spend the time reflecting and planning before you file for divorce.
If you have taken all that into consideration and the answer is ultimately divorce, then taking steps to ensure you understand and are prepared for what comes next are critically important to how the legal process moves along and your own well-being. It is probably not going to be surprising to hear me say, part of your initial work is going to be finding and hiring the right team of professionals. Having an experienced matrimonial attorney will be key to receiving a settlement that is appropriate and fair under all circumstances. A experienced attorney will be able to explain to you the legal process that lies ahead as well as help you put in place other professionals, such as accountants and valuation professionals, that will be essential to making sure you end up in the best place possible to start your new life.
In summary, the lack of stigma surrounding divorce over 50 has freed a lot of couples up to end their marriage, and if that includes you, reading this article might be your first bit of research, so let me leave you with a little bit of homework:
- Answer your what will I lose and what will I gain.
- Find an experienced divorce lawyer and get educated on the divorce process in New Jersey.
At the end of the analysis, divorcing is a highly personal matter with gray divorce having its own specific considerations. Getting clear on your emotional and financial goals are important, and then seeking out competent advice will help you determine if your goals are achievable. Sometimes client’s initial goals and the law line up, but even when they don’t exactly, having an attorney who will explain the law and your alternatives from a place of experience and compassion undoubtedly help navigate the divorce experience.
Robert Adinolfi is the founding shareholder of Adinolfi, Lieberman, Burick, Roberto & Molotsky. He has dedicated his 40+ year career to the practice of family law. Mr. Adinolfi is a certified matrimonial lawyer having met the requirements of the New Jersey Supreme Court. He is also a fellow in the prestigious Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.