The divorce rate in Alabama and the rest of the country has remained stable in recent years except for couples older than 50. In that age group, divorce rates have continued to climb, with only 10% seeking a divorce 20 years ago and 25% doing so today. Divorce after 50, also known as gray divorce, includes special issues that must be addressed.
Cost of living and maintaining quality of life
One of the considerations that must be faced is how different the cost of living is for single people past 50 when compared with married people in the same age group. When older couples decide to seek a divorce, the cost of living might rise 40% to 50% for each person. This could create a dilemma regarding how to maintain the quality of life they have been used to. Additionally, income also tends to drop for both spouses after a gray divorce. It is estimated that men’s income can drop as much as 25% and women’s income can drop as much as 40%.
Retirement plans might have to change
Gray divorce also often impacts each spouse’s plans for retirement, and the closer to retirement someone is, the harsher the impact might be. Some people in this situation could have to make alternate arrangements, and others might not be able to financially recover. In considering retirement plans, divorcing spouses usually assess a variety of retirement accounts and sources of support, including:
- Social security benefits
- Pension plans
- Retirement accounts such as 401(K)s and IRAs
- Life insurance policies
- Savings and investment accounts
They also have to factor in the tax implications of dividing some of these accounts. Older couples who are ending their marriage should look at all the options available to them legally and financially as they prepare for life post-divorce. They might, however, prioritize their retirement goals and their budgeting to reconcile cost of living and quality of life.