Many people on Long Island consider divorce to be a “young man’s game.” There’s a certain logic to thinking that people will determine, or decide, after a few years of being married that they made a mistake or have grown apart from their partner. The reality, however, is that more and more of the clients in our Long Island divorce law firm fall into the category of “young at heart” if not young in age.
In today’s world, it is not uncommon to find couples who have been married for many decades deciding to end their marriage. They may have grown children, who are now married themselves, when they decide to divorce. Below are some special considerations for those who wish to end their marriage in their later years.
The Rise of the Gray Divorce on Long Island
Over the past few decades, there has been a marked increase in “Gray Divorces”. Today, this catchy phrase is being applied to the divorce wave that has occurred within the generation of the baby boomers. A majority of these clients have been married for at least 20 years. While each couple is different, many common themes seem to be leading this group to divorce.
Some find that they have just grown apart. This situation can be exacerbated when the couples’ adult children have gone to college, moved out, or begun families of their own, or, upon the retirement of a spouse. They find themselves alone together and are not happy in the marriage without the former distractions.
Another main theme is longer life expectancy. When life expectancies were shorter, the idea of getting divorced in your 50s or 60s may have seemed unnecessary, but now, the average life expectancy is well into your 80s. Thus, you could have another 30 healthy years of life after your Gray Divorce. This “second act” has many people deciding to divorce so that those many years of life can be happy or peaceful.
Spousal Maintenance Considerations for Older Divorcing Couples
As mentioned in our other spousal maintenance or alimony blog posts, the duration of your marriage can impact the length of time you receive or pay maintenance. For those falling into the Gray Divorce category, it is likely that you have been married for 20 plus years. This means that maintenance could be paid, post-divorce, for a period representing 35-50% of your marriage. For couples in which one, or both parties, have retired and are on a fixed income, the determination of maintenance is a crucial issue of a Gray Divorce.
Life Insurance Issues for Gray Divorces
For many of our clients, regardless of age, life insurance is a prerequisite to a signed Stipulation of Settlement. If we are representing the party receiving maintenance, a life insurance policy taken out by the payor spouse helps to ensure that, should a tragedy occur, the payee spouse is taken care of financially. In Gray Divorces, the maintaining of a life insurance policy is yet another crucial issue.
Pensions and Fixed Income Issues of Gray Divorces
As previously stated, it is not uncommon for clients seeking a Gray Divorce to be retired and on a fixed income. If you have or are receiving a pension, your spouse is usually entitled to his or her marital share of that pension. This is something that needs to be taken into account when negotiating a Gray Divorce. For many people, the funds they are receiving from their pension is what keeps them afloat, and to have that amount reduced is a serious concern. For other couples, only one spouse has a pension because only one spouse was employed during the marriage. If the nonworking spouse was left without compensation from the working spouse’s pension(s), he or she would be left in poverty. Pensions are still another intricate issue that must be handled with care during a Gray Divorce.
If you have made the decision to divorce your spouse after many decades together, it is very important that you seek an attorney who has experience in these matters. Each case requires time and attention to detail, as each case is different. If you would like to ensure that you are properly represented during your Gray Divorce, please call our Office at 631-923-1910 to schedule your free consultation with one of our experienced Long Island Divorce Attorneys.
Considering Divorce After Many Years of Marriage? Contact Us
If you’re considering a divorce after many years of marriage, it’s important that you seek the counse of an experienced Long Island divorce attorney. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-629-2545 to set up your free consultation.
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Our 41-page “Guide to New York Divorce: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in New York” written by an experienced family law lawyer, Long Island’s Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., provides you with real information on the divorce process and the laws it rests upon in the state of New York. This book will help give you a solid foundation upon which you can begin the process of making your family’s, life better.