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Financial realities of a gray divorce

Some people in Indiana might have heard references to a trend called "gray divorce". This term pertains to a divorce that happens when the spouses are over the age of 50. While property division settlements may result in the loss of assets for spouses regardless of their ages, the financial hit taken by a person over 50 has the ability to be more damaging than the hit taken by a person in their 30s. 

USA Today noted that a 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office indicated that an unmarried person 65 years of age or older needs the equivalent of 79 percent of a married person's income in order to make ends meet. This is at odds with the losses that occur when getting divorced as a person's income generally drops during and after this experience. 

In the last couple of decades, the number of people over 50 getting divorced has doubled from five per 1,000 married people to 10 per 1,000 married people. The divorce rate among people 65 and older has actually tripled.

One factor contributing to this trend may well be the number of people who had previously been divorced and then got married again. A second or subsequent marriage has a two-and-a-half times higher risk of divorce than a first marriage. Psychology Today explains that baby boomers were getting divorced in their younger years which means that a large number of the people getting divorced today are likely to be in their second or later marriages. Even for divorces that happen in first marriages, the seeds of failure are likely to have been sewn many years before the actual end of the marriage. 

 

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Robert Schembs
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Indianapolis, IN 46204

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