Gray Divorce: what you need to know about long-term marriage and divorce

April 16, 2020

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Recently there has been an upward trend connecting long-term marriage and divorce, known as “gray divorce”: these are divorces of couples over 50 years old who have been married over 20 years. The reasons vary. It may be due to an increase in life expectancy or a desire for financial independence. Whatever the cause, the fact that it is happening is undeniable. There are special considerations to think about in a gray divorce.

What Happens to Retirement Funds in Divorce?

Divorcing closer to retirement (or divorce after retirement) can result in a less comfortable retirement for each spouse. Depending on your unique circumstances, a divorce may result in the option to delay retirement, increase your retirement savings or retire with a different lifestyle than originally planned. It is important to have a team that includes a knowledgeable divorce attorney and a strong financial planner on your side.

How Does Divorce Affect Social Security Benefits?

In some cases, a spouse is entitled to benefits based on his or her spouse’s Social Security, depending on the duration of the marriage and each spouse’s income. Sometimes, getting remarried will stop any spousal Social Security benefits. Consider talking to a financial planner to determine your rights as an ex-spouse as it relates to Social Security.

Income and Spousal Support After Divorce

When a marriage ends, especially a long-term marriage, there are many issues surrounding income to consider. Some questions to consider: How to maintain your lifestyle after divorce? Will you need to go back to work? Will you have to pay or will you get spousal support (alimony)?

For more information about spousal support (also known as alimony), click here.

Life Insurance and Divorce Settlements

In any divorce, the age of the spouses requires careful consideration when it comes to issues regarding life insurance, but also health insurance. This includes each person’s ability to afford and obtain or maintain health insurance. You should discuss these issues with a knowledgeable financial planner and experienced divorce attorney.

How To Divide Assets in a Divorce?

Divorces from a long-term marriage may involve more significant and/or more unique assets. The division of the property, both marital property and separate property, will be subject to several considerations unique to a long-term marriage. For more information about identifying marital property, click here.

Legal Competence and Divorce

As people get older, there is an increased chance that competency may be an issue affecting that person’s ability to represent their own best interests. In such a situation, an attorney or the court may wish to have competency confirmed and take measures to protect the rights of a party who is found not competent.

Divorce and Estate Planning

Estate planning for divorced persons may require special considerations. Updating your estate planning during divorce, as well as after divorce, is strongly advised, as well as planning for the provisions and costs of long-term medical care, should it be required.

Don’t go it alone. Have a consult with one of our Omaha divorce attorneys to discuss the unique circumstances of your case.


This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts. 


If you need help with your divorce case, contact Hightower Reff Law today and come visit with one of the attorneys at our Omaha office. 

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