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Pros and cons of a "gray divorce"

America's population has been trending older for several years now. This is mainly due to a combination of increasing life spans and lower birth rates. Whatever the cause, though, our seniors are now living active, independent lives longer than ever before. With that, comes a premium on personal happiness, leading many people to make the difficult decision to leave decades-long unhappy marriages in a rash of what legal experts have termed "gray" divorces.

The good

First and foremost, the majority of people who have made the difficult decision to divorce after years - or even decades - of marriage do so because they want to be happy. Many of them have stayed in unsatisfying or loveless marriages for a very long time, often because they wanted to raise their children as a family. Now that the proverbial nest is empty, however, the time has come for their personal happiness to take priority.

With divorce comes the ability to try new things, date new people, travel, and have experiences that your former spouse wasn't interested in having. If, for example, you have always wanted to travel across Europe, but your spouse didn't, then you likely would never have had the opportunity during your marriage; now, you can. Some people find that, for the first time in years, they actually enjoy waking up in the morning after ending a long-term unhappy marriage.

The not-so-good

"Gray divorces" come with their own unique set of challenges. In addition to the emotional fallout of any divorce, which includes mourning the loss of the life plans you laid out years ago (and the dreams of growing older and retiring with your spouse), long-term divorces usually have more complications from both an asset and debt division perspective and a spousal support perspective. These can include:

  • Years of commingled marital assets
  • Numerous joint debts
  • A marital home
  • A second home/vacation property
  • Family business interests
  • Retirement/pension accounts
  • The need for one spouse to have alimony/spousal support (particularly if he or she made career or educational sacrifices to benefit the other spouse or to raise the children)

As with any divorce, those interested in seeking a gray divorce are advised to proceed with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. Having a lawyer by your side gives you a better statistical chance of a positive outcome.

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Frank Family Law Practice
815 Orienta Avenue
Suite 1030
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Phone: 407-629-2208
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