Gray divorce is the new trend
Although many think that after many, many years of marriage it will surely last “till death do us part”, more and more baby boomers are divorcing after 20, 25 even 35 years of marriage. Although this is not official, my examination of New Hanover County, North Carolina court files reflect that in Wilmington, NC, a gray divorce is occurring at the rate of about one per week.
One reason the number of gray divorces is increasing is longer life spans. At 50, they see themselves living 25 or 30 more years. They may feel they no longer have much in common, or they have grown apart after many years. Sometimes after the children have graduated from college and no longer live at home, one or both find they find that was the only thing that kept them together. They see the possibility of having a second life that fits with how they see themselves today, and decide they no longer want to stay in their marriage. Sometimes one spouse has no idea until one day they are confronted by a spouse who wants a divorce.
Although female baby boomers were part of the women’s liberation movement and often worked away from the home, statistically, they worked fewer years and earned less than their male counterpart spouse. This is largely due to motherhood, but also lower paying career choices more often picked by women of that generation. The effect is that women fare much worse in a gray divorce. Even if assets are divided 50/50, divorcing women may have a spotty work history or may have lost job skills and yet find themselves having to re-enter the work force to support themselves. Net worth declines as resources are drained to pay the bills.
Women are not the only ones that suffer in a gray divorce. Alimony is alive and well in North Carolina and men find themselves obligated to pay spousal support (and sometimes child support), often up to or past retirement age. They can no longer set aside assets for retirement and may find themselves supporting their old and new family after divorce.
Avoid financial pitfalls in a gray divorce
Gray divorce couples, more than any other divorcing couples, need to hire a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to help them sort out their marital estate, which often includes a home, pension or 401(k), rental properties, jewelry, vehicles and possibly a business. Lifestyles have been maintained much longer and much more is at stake in terms of spousal support. Seeing the effect that a proposed settlement has on cash flow and net worth becomes imperative. Financial pitfalls await for those who do not closely examine the financial effects of taxes, social security, inflation and appreciation or depreciation of assets. Attorneys don’t have the necessary financial knowledge, training or specialized family law software necessary to properly guide gray divorcing couples through their financial settlement. The Right Divorce Solution can provide the financial guidance you need.