Gray divorces, or divorces among adults 50 and older, are becoming increasingly more common. In fact, the divorce rate for Americans 50 years old and older has doubled over the past 14 years. Divorce for older Americans, however, has its own unique challenges. Older couples are often either planning for retirement or about to retire, and a divorce can throw a major wrench in those plans. The divorce process itself can be costly, but even after divorce, life as a single person is typically more expensive than married life when incomes are combined. In many gray divorce cases, one spouse hopes to keep their shared family home, but this is unfortunately often too costly for one spouse to handle on their own, especially if they have other large expenses. For this reason, many divorce specialists suggest gray divorcees consider selling their shared home during their divorce and splitting the proceeds. Now, in the United Kingdom, lenders across the country have announced plans to implement “divorce mortgages” at some point this year, and there is a large chance these mortgages will become available in the United States soon as well. Here is what you need to know.
Divorce can be a burden, both emotionally and financially. For those over 50, likely preparing for retirement, divorce can be financially destructive. Retirement plans can quickly unravel, assets can disappear, and many late in life divorcees, especially women, find themselves in poverty post divorce. Late in life divorces, often referred to as gray divorces, are on the rise in America. For those ages 55 to 64, the divorce rate has doubled since the 1990’s, and for those 65 and older, the rate has tripled. Today, around one in four couples over 50 years old divorce, and it is more important than ever that late in life divorcees plan accordingly for their future finances.
Divorced Americans age 50 or older currently outnumber widowed individuals in the same age group for the first time. The American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, reports that more than 15 percent of the population over age 50 are divorced, while about 13.5 percent are widowed. The divorce rates in other age groups seem to have stabilized in over the last few years, but with “gray divorce,” the rate has risen dramatically.