What to Know About Gray Divorce

Ending a marriage can be difficult regardless of how long you’ve been married. But the longer your marriage lasts, the more complicated it can get. If you’re over 50 and are in the midst of or considering a divorce, you’re part of a growing trend called “Gray Divorce.”

The United States Census Bureau reported in 2021 that the divorce rate for adults between the age of 55-60 hit a record high of 43%, making this age group the highest divorce rate among married adults over the age of 20. And this isn’t a trend specific to the United States. The number of gray divorces has increased worldwide.

This article will discuss eight things you should know when going through a gray divorce in California.

#1. Marital Assets Will Be Split 50/50

Two methods are used to divide marital property in the United States; equitable distribution and community property. California is a community property state.

That means each spouse is entitled to half of all marital assets (and responsible for half of all marital debt) regardless of which spouse earned the income or whose name is on the paperwork for the assets/debt.

#2. Spousal Support Will Likely Be Awarded

Spousal support will likely be granted if your marriage lasts over ten years. However, this doesn’t mean you will automatically be awarded spousal support. Before making a decision, the judge will take into consideration the following factors:

  • Your standard of living during the marriage
  • The income and assets of each spouse
  • The need for support
  • The higher-earning spouse’s ability to pay spousal support

#3. You Will Likely Only Receive Half of Your Nest Egg or Retirement Fund

California is a no-fault divorce state. That means that it doesn’t matter who was at fault for the divorce, marital assets will still be divided evenly in your divorce. This includes any nest egg or retirement funds you and your spouse may have accumulated throughout your marriage.

#4. You May Have to Reenter the Workforce

You may have become accustomed to not working during retirement while your spouse worked a regular job during your marriage. However, you may have to get a job if you’re not granted spousal support or if it’s insufficient to cover your expenses.

#5. Even Adult Children Can Be Affected By Gray Divorce

Although you won’t have to deal with raising children as a single parent, grown children can also be affected by divorce. Even though you shouldn’t overshare the reason behind your divorce, you should give your children a reasonable explanation for what’s happening. This can allow them to process the divorce and try to make sense of what’s going on.

#6. Avoid Dating Before Your Divorce is Final

It can be lonely, especially for older people, when getting a divorce. However, getting into a new relationship can be a mistake before your divorce is final. Not only could it upset your children, but it could anger your spouse and end up increasing the time and cost of your divorce.

#7. Get a Prenuptial Agreement if You Remarry

Your divorce has been finalized, and you’ve fallen in love again. If you choose to remarry, you should get a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can outline the assets you wish to keep separate if your marriage ends in divorce.

#8. You Could Receive Social Security Benefits From Your Spouse’s Record

If you’ve been divorced longer than two years, and your ex is receiving retirement or disability benefits, you might be able to collect social security benefits from your spouse’s record.

You may be able to collect on your spouse’s record if :

  • You were married for ten years or longer
  • You are unmarried
  • You are 62 or older
  • Your social security benefit is less than your ex-spouse’s
  • You are eligible to receive disability benefits or Social Security retirement

You will be paid your benefit amount first if you qualify for social security benefits. Then, if your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you’ll get additional benefits so that your monthly benefit amount equals the higher amount.

Turn to Azemika & Azemika, the Family Law Experts in Bakersfield

Gray divorce can affect multiple generations of a family. And while it can be scary to start over after you’ve been married for decades, it can also provide you the opportunity for growth and self-discovery and can give you a chance to form new relationships. If you or someone you know is considering gray divorce, it’s essential to enlist the help of a qualified, experienced divorce attorney.

At Azemika & Azemika, our practice is exclusively devoted to family law. With over 64 years of handling family law cases, our partners have successfully handled some of the most challenging and high-asset family law cases in Kern County. We provide our clients with aggressive, knowledgeable, and affordable representation.

Contact us today if you’re looking for a family law attorney who is sensitive to your needs and will fight for you.

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