Gray divorce: What are the implications of late-life divorce?

People who file for divorce later in life may face certain financial, medical and family obstacles that could affect their lives in many ways.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the U.S. divorce rate has held steady for several years, the number of couples over the age of 50 who file for divorce in Georgia and across the nation continues to increase. Researchers offer several explanations for the source of this phenomenon known as gray divorce. The aging population of baby boomers, a longer life expectancy rate and more career opportunities in the workforce are just some of the reasons why the rate of divorce in this age range has increased. AARP reported that the rate has increased from one in 10 people in 1990 to more than one in four people in 2011.

While many people have found freedom and happiness through ending their marriage after retirement or after the kids have grown and moved out of the house, there are several implications that gray divorce has on peoples' lives. Before filing papers, it is crucial that couples realize what these implications are.

The financial factor

When couples terminate their marriage in Georgia, their assets and property are divided in an equitable manner. Spouses may be entitled to a significant portion of the assets that were accumulated during the marriage, including 401k plans, retirement benefits, social security and life insurance policies. These dividends may be enough to allow some newly divorcees to live a comfortable life. However, there are cases where people may leave the marriage with financial turmoil.

According to AARP, women who have depended on their spouse for their financial support and well-being may be forced to return to the workforce. A number of people in this situation apply for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits in an attempt to make ends meet. In some cases, people may have to rely on their children for a place to stay and financial support during this hard time.

Family issues

Adult children may be better equipped to handle the news that their parents are getting divorced. Yet, studies show that even grown kids can suffer emotional trauma from the effects of divorcing parents. Children and grandchildren may get stuck in the middle of a feuding couple, which can have a detrimental effect on their relationship with their parents and grandparents.

Making a plan

Whether you have already filed for divorce or are just thinking about terminating your marriage, you may want to seek counsel from a family attorney. A lawyer in Georgia may be helpful in looking at all of your legal options and answering any questions you might have regarding the divorce process.