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Top Considerations for a Gray Divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2020 | Uncategorized |

If you are nearing or over retirement age, and you are thinking about divorce, then you should be planning for what has become known as “gray divorce.” The term was coined not too long ago by researchers investigating the rising rate of divorces among people aged 60 or older. Now, gray divorce has become relatively common in Michigan and other parts of the country. Yet if you are planning for a gray divorce, you need to be aware of distinct considerations that may not apply to younger divorcing spouses in the same way. The following are some of the top considerations for gray divorce.

Understand How Retirement Benefits Will be Divided

While it will be important for couples of any age who are planning for a divorce to understand how their retirement benefits will be divided, this process will be particularly significant for older adults, especially if they are currently retired and relying on their retirement benefits as income. Generally speaking, retirement benefits will be divided through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or a Domestic Relations Order (DRO). Some pensions must be distributed with a DRO in Michigan. A QDRO or DRO is a court order that allows for the distribution of retirement benefits in divorce.

For parties planning for a gray divorce who are not quite yet at the age of retirement, a QDRO or DRO allows retirement benefits to be distributed without incurring the typical 10% penalty.

Financial Implications of a Gray Divorce May be More Pronounced

You should be aware that the financial implications of divorce may be more pronounced in a gray divorce, especially if you are living on retirement benefits. You may have to divide one income, but now have two residences, and it may be difficult or impossible to financially recoup retirement benefits that are distributed to your spouse in the divorce. 

Consider the Effects of Divorce on Health Insurance

If you rely on your spouse’s health insurance for coverage, a gray divorce could be particularly difficult. You should think carefully about your health insurance coverage and your options before you lose benefits in your divorce.

You Will Still Need to Tell Your Children About the Divorce

Many couples that decide to divorce when they have young children from the marriage struggle with finding the best way to inform their kids about the impending divorce. During the divorce and in the months and years that follow, those couples grapple with many issues concerning their kids and the divorce. Older adults who are planning for a gray divorce will not need to contend with child custody or the psychological effects of divorce on young children or teens, but you should be prepared to discuss the divorce with your adult children nonetheless. Indeed, as an article in Business Insider highlights, even adult children struggle after learning that their elderly parents are getting divorced. As such, you will probably need to make a plan to tell your adult children about the divorce. 

Contact a Michigan Divorce Attorney 

If you have questions about getting divorced as an older adult, one of the dedicated Michigan divorce attorneys at our firm can speak with you today about your situation. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins for more information about how we can assist you.