Dissolved marriages involving couples 50 and older are known as gray divorces in Kentucky and other states. These types of separations, which have more than doubled in the past two decades, present a unique set of monetary challenges that can be difficult for the parties involved. According to research from Bowling Green State University, couples who get divorced after 50 can expect their financial wealth to drop by 50%. This can be a major shock so close to retirement.
After turning 50, it can be challenging to build up a healthy retirement account like a 401(k) or IRA. It's also difficult to find employment, especially for a homemaker spouse who hasn't been in the labor market for some time. This age group also often has college-aged children, which can be another financial drain. As the resources of older divorcees are drained, additional financial pressure will likely be put on family and broader public institutions.
The news isn't all bad for senior couples. Despite the sharp increase in divorce rates, only 11% of couples age 50 and over get divorced. Even couples in gray divorces are in much better financial shape than younger people. Divorced men have over $150,000 more in assets than men under 50 while divorced women have over $50,000 more than women under 50.
While a divorce after the age of 50 may feel very financially draining, the damage can be mitigated by hiring an attorney. Legal counsel can help arrange a division of accounts that minimizes the tax burden for both parties. If an agreement can't be made amicably, an attorney could advocate for their client's best interests in court.