What impact does alimony have in a gray divorce?

older adults sitting on the couch gray divorce

In today’s society, divorces have become more socially acceptable which has caused there to be an increase in the overall divorce rate. Specifically, less stigma surrounding divorces has caused there to be a significant increase in divorces involving individuals between the ages of 50 and 70 years old. Divorces, regardless of age, can be extremely stressful. There are, however, certain challenges that older couples face that younger couples are not confronted with during the divorce process. For instance, many older couples seeking to dissolve their marriage underestimate the impact alimony can have on their financial security. Please continue to follow along to learn more about gray divorces and how a skilled Shelby County, Tennessee Divorce Lawyer can help you. 

What is a gray divorce?

Gray divorce refers to spouses who are 50 years of age or older seeking to terminate their marriage. Typically, gray divorces involve older couples that have been in long-term marriages. Those that pursue gray divorces are often members of the Baby Boomer generation. The term “gray divorce” was coined because in the past while the overall divorce rate in the U.S. was decreasing, the older adult (grey-haired) demographic saw a significant increase in divorces. According to research, the divorce rate of people over 50 years old has doubled since 1990. Essentially, a gray divorce involves older individuals dissolving their marriage.

How does alimony impact individuals undergoing this type of divorce?

When a couple seeks a divorce, one spouse may request the court to grant alimony also known as spousal support. Typically, a lower-earning spouse requests that the higher-earning spouse provides them with financial support to maintain the same lifestyle that was established during the marriage. The court will evaluate several factors to determine whether to award a spouse alimony. The primary factors the court takes into account are the need for financial support and whether the spouse being requested to pay alimony can afford it. For younger couples, if alimony is awarded to a spouse, the higher-earning spouse will be required to pay maintenance to provide financial support. Typically, alimony is paid until the lower-income spouse finds employment or remarries. For older couples, alimony can have a huge impact on individuals in gray divorces. Often when an older couple reaches a certain age they retire from their occupation. This means they no longer have a steady income and rely on retirement benefits to live. If a spouse requests alimony in a gray divorce, an individual could pay maintenance for the rest of their life. It is imperative to note that the court does not expect those who have already retired to return to work. However, the court could decide to split a spouse’s retirement benefits which could negatively affect their financial security.

If you are seeking a gray divorce, it is imperative to speak with one of our determined and trusted team members who can help you navigate the complexities of this legal process. Allow our firm to represent your interests in court to ensure your hard-earned assets are protected.