The Grey Divorce

December 5th, 2016 Posted by  Dwayne and Caroline

The Grey Divorce by Dwayne Grady & Caroline Girgis

{3:24 minutes to read} How does the saying go? “Age is nothing but a number?” Well, that may very well be true, but getting a divorce past the age of sixty creates additional challenges.

Let’s be clear, someone getting a divorce over the age of sixty deals with many of the same issues as a younger couple. Issues such as:

  • Property division;
  • Spousal support;
  • Division of investment assets; and in many cases,
  • Child support.

These are issues regardless of age. Unfortunately, for older people going through divorce (often referred to as a Grey Divorce), that is where the similarities end.

The financial decisions are increasingly difficult when a spouse is of retirement age. At this age, the ability to earn an income is significantly diminished. The possibility of:

  • Medical issues;
  • Reduction in the ability to focus on “the unknown future;”
  • Dealing with adult children who may take sides; and
  • Understanding the impact of financial decisions, all make a Grey Divorce more challenging. And as if all this isn’t enough, add to it the likely feeling of despair for a spouse, who after a lifetime of marriage, is now starting over.

If you or someone you know is facing a divorce, here are some key points to understand regardless of your age. These are, however, especially critical for those over the age of sixty going through divorce:

1. Retain independent professionals.

Couples who have been married for many years have relationships with many professionals: lawyers, bankers, accountants, financial advisors and more. Spouses who were not intimately involved in the marital decision-making may feel left out of these relationships.

2. Understand your options with Social Security.

In the event of a divorce, assumptions regarding the level of Social Security the household will have to cover expenses are likely incorrect. There are too many options to discuss in this blog; however, seek the advice and counsel of a professional versed in the issues with Social Security.

3. Understand your healthcare options.

Dental and vision needs often increase as we age. Long-term care issues are front and center, and the divorcing spouses need to understand the options and impact of this type of need.

4. Consider the benefit of psychological counseling and coaching.

For spouses who were caught off guard by the divorce and are coming to grips with the effects on their lifestyle, the issues of family relations, possible conflicts, and tension, professional counseling may be needed.

5. Understand the impact of Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs).

At the age of 70.5, owners of retirement plans and IRAs are required to begin to take distributions from those plans. These distributions are taxable and should be considered in the division of assets.


ANEW Divorce Planning
Dwayne Grady (CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, CDFA™, MBA)
Caroline Girgis (JD, ChFC®, CDFA™)
1750 Tysons Boulevard Suite 1500, McLean, VA 22102
(703) 289–5041

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 5th, 2016 at 6:56 pm and is filed under Divorce.