A so-called “gray divorce” is one in which the couple is over 50 years old. These splits have been getting more and more popular over the years.Maybe you got married right out of college. You had kids in the first few years. You and your spouse knew the marriage wasn’t ideal, but you stuck it out so that the kids could grow up with two parents in the home. You didn’t want to think about child support, child custody and all the rest.
But now the kids are gone to college and living on their own, starting their own lives. So you and your spouse are thinking about mutually agreeing to split up.
If so, here are five key things to consider:
- The emotional impact. If you got divorced at 26, after being married for a year, it would eventually feel like a blip of time in your life. After staying married for 25 years, though, you’re not going to get over it as quickly. Even if it’s what you both want, be ready for the emotional impact of moving on.
- Retirement plans. Do you get a pension that you’re going to use to retire? Your ex is likely entitled to at least a portion of it, even if you’re not getting it yet. You also have to consider your own retirement savings, Social Security and much more.
- The kids. Just because the children are out of the house doesn’t mean the divorce won’t impact them. Do you need to make a plan for the holidays? How will you divide these times? When are you going to tell the kids about the divorce?
- The important assets. You must determine what you want the most. Maybe you own the house outright, for instance. With no mortgage to worry about, perhaps you’re hoping to keep it. You’ve lived there for decades. If so, what assets are you willing to give your spouse to buy out his or her share of the home? Other important assets include vacation homes, investment portfolios and the aforementioned pension plans.
- Your estate plan. You’ll need to update things like your will, your powers of attorney, your medical directives and your life insurance policy. Estate planning will likely now shift to focus on the children. Don’t forget to update all of the important documents. Your assets and debts could change significantly as they get divided and you want to alter things so your ex is no longer the beneficiary.
The key to a successful gray divorce is to sit down and plan everything out in advance. Consider all of your options, make sure you know your legal rights and set up a plan for your future.