Your children have finally left the nest. You have a comfortable career, and you’re nearing retirement. Everything in your life suggests that you should be relaxing and enjoying life, but you’re not. Instead, you’re looking at your spouse of several decades and realizing that you don’t want to spend your golden years with them. You want a divorce.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Gray divorce has been on the rise for years in Florida and around the country. If you’re considering ending your marriage after becoming an empty nester, you’re among one of the fastest-growing groups of divorcees.
However, gray divorce comes with unique challenges. Here’s what you need to know about it and what to expect from the process in Florida.
What Is Gray Divorce
Gray divorce describes the increasing rate of couples ending their marriages after turning 50. Overall, divorce rates have been falling since the 1980s. However, that trend doesn’t hold true for all demographics. The rate of divorces between couples older than 50 has skyrocketed to almost double what it was 20 years ago.
There are several reasons for this. First, the adults who were over 50 two decades ago were largely part of the Silent Generation. These people had a much stronger bias against divorce that discouraged them from ending marriages even if they were unhappy. Meanwhile, adults over 50 today are mostly Baby Boomers who grew up during the 60s, 70s, and 80s as divorce became more common. As a result, they are significantly more open to ending relationships that make them unhappy.
Second, longer lifespans have given many older adults a different perspective on ending marriages in their 50s and beyond. Someone who reaches age 50 can reasonably expect to live another three or four decades. Many people reevaluate their relationships during middle age and realize they’d prefer to spend the time they have left happy rather than in an unsatisfying marriage.
Challenges of Divorcing After 50
While there are good reasons for the rise in gray divorces, the process can pose unique challenges. If you’re considering ending your marriage after 50, you should prepare for complications such as:
- Retirement: There is a significant financial difference between retiring as a couple and retiring single. If you’ve been planning to retire together, your divorce can impact your financial planning.
- Assets: Florida’s equitable division laws require couples to divide all joint assets fairly in divorce. Spouses married for decades have likely accumulated a significant amount of common property. Dividing these assets can be time-consuming and emotionally and financially complicated.
- Estate plans: Older spouses often have wills and estate plans that name each other as the primary beneficiary and assume that their assets are combined. During and after a divorce, these people will need to reevaluate their estates and develop new plans to account for changes in their relationships and finances.
Handling Your Gray Divorce Effectively in Florida
If you’re anticipating a gray divorce, it’s essential to prepare for it. The right approach can help you keep your split on track and minimize its financial and emotional impacts. Some of the most important ways to manage a gray divorce in Florida include:
- Understanding your rights: Florida divorce laws will shape your divorce from beginning to end. Taking the time to review your rights under state law will help you prepare for the process effectively.
- Maintaining solid relationships elsewhere: Divorce is always emotionally challenging, but it is often more difficult after longer marriages. Keep your relationships with family and friends strong, so you have a support system during your split.
- Making financial preparations: You will likely need to change your lifestyle a little after your marriage ends. Prepare now by creating a new budget and considering what you will need to retire on your own.
- Consulting with a skilled attorney: The right lawyer will help you understand your rights and obligations and handle your finances according to Florida law. They will also advocate on your behalf to help you achieve the best possible outcome from your dissolution of marriage.
Expert Legal Counsel for Gray Divorces
At Bergman Family Law, we are dedicated to helping our clients move through even the most complex of divorces. We use our in-depth understanding of Florida divorce laws to provide clients like you with robust, boutique advocacy in gray divorces. Learn more about how we can assist you in your marital dissolution by scheduling your consultation today.