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“Gray” Divorces Are On the Rise in Colorado

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Category: Divorce | Gray Divorce

Gray Divorces Are On the Rise in Colorado

When we turn on the news, we rarely see stories about young love and lasting romances. In fact, it seems like at every age, more and more people are breaking up and getting divorced. The latest divorce “victims”? People over 50.


It’s been termed a “gray” divorce, and it’s happening more and more.


What Is a “Gray” Divorce?


When an older couple decides to split after decades of marriage, it has been dubbed a “gray” divorce. These types of divorces have been making headlines recently because they are happening at surprisingly high rates nowadays. Three years ago, NPR reported that “Americans over 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as people of that age were 20 years ago.”


Reasons for gray divorces don’t stray too far from reasons for other divorces. Couples who have been together for decades may split due to the following:


  • They’ve grown apart
  • Boredom
  • Financial issues (retirement funds, college funds for children, and so on)
  • Sexual incompatibility
  • Issues relating to a “mid-life crisis”

“Gray” divorces can be just as tragic and messy as any other divorce. In fact, gray divorcees may find themselves in more complicated legal battles than younger individuals going through divorce proceedings due to their finances and assets.


Financial Issues with Gray Divorce


Financial Issues with Gray Divorce

For many gray divorcees, retirement was right around the corner – or they may even be retired. But then the finances that were supporting one household suddenly have to support two. It can throw their entire world and future into disarray, and their prospects for finding work or a new partner are not as good as younger divorcees.


Furthering the complications is the fact that couples who have been together longer tend to obtain more marital property, grow more attached to certain assets, and become more accustomed to a certain financial situation than couples who are still working on planning for the future.


Long-time spouses may also share other accounts that were meant to benefit both parties in the future. In Colorado, 401(k) accounts and pension plans are viewed as marital property and are subject to the equitable distribution of property that all marital property undergoes during divorce proceedings. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order must be filed, which is a separate document that will outline how and when benefits will be paid to each spouse in the future.


Unfortunately, many individuals involved in a “gray” divorce find themselves putting off retirement (or coming out of it), selling vacation homes, and downsizing. But this does not have to be the case.


If You Are Facing a Gray Divorce


Colorado Gray Divorce Lawyer

Whether you are still holding onto the last strings of your marriage or ready to file divorce papers, you and your spouse have a lot of things to discuss regarding your finances and your future. If you are facing a gray divorce, remember these tips:


  • You will need to provide full financial disclosure to each other, and to the courtroom. Going through all of your marital assets and all of your shared property may be tiresome, but it will allow you and your ex to receive a fair division of assets. Plus, putting in a little extra effort to be thorough will save you time later in court. It is very unwise to try to hide assets from your spouse or a judge – it will only come back to bite you later in divorce proceedings and slow the whole process down.
  • Mediation will speed up the divorce process. If there is a lot of marital property to divide and a lot of decisions to be made, you and your ex may find yourself (and your lawyers) in court for a long time. But deciding how to split property and handle post-divorce finances can be settled outside of court on your own or through mediation. A third-party mediator will allow you to put your emotions aside and civilly make decisions quicker than a judge can for you.
  • Make necessary changes to your will and other estate planning documents. Older Americans are more likely to have begun estate planning and filling out documents like Last Will and Testaments. These documents often give away a big chunk (or all) of your assets to your spouse. And if you’re going through a divorce, those documents may not reflect your current wishes. Contact your estate planning lawyer to discuss how you can change these documents to best reflect your last wishes and avoid a probate mess after you pass away.

No matter how old you are or how long you and your spouse have been together, going through a divorce is tough. Get in contact with us today to get high-quality representation and mediation throughout your divorce proceedings.


About the Author:


Vernon Ready is an award-winning Colorado lawyer with an in-depth understanding of all areas of family law, estate planning, and personal injury. His energetic and aggressive advocacy approach allow him to successfully navigate complex cases, including high asset divorce and complicated custody issues. During his time at the University of Colorado Law School, Ready won numerous awards for his trial advocacy skills. Since being admitted to practice in 2009, Ready has become well-known throughout Denver and the state for the passionate defense of his clients and his unparalleled understanding of the law.