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Gray Divorce: Middle-Aged and Senior Couples Parting Ways

Leslie Barrows
 | Published: 
August 27, 2021
 | Category: 

Gray Divorce and Unique Issues in Senior Divorces in Texas

Divorce in Texas is becoming more common among men and women who are 55 and older, the category often called Gray Divorce. As children leave home and start their own lives, some spouses find themselves wanting different things with their time and future. Some became like roommates over the years and neither recognize what used to be a loving marriage. And with so many couples both working in their careers, it is increasingly common to part ways with financial independence.

People are living longer and once kids are raised there are new opportunities. Being 55 years old is considered young among many, with many great years ahead. With advances in health and technology, we are living our best lives well into our middle and senior years, with all kinds of roads to travel. Some people feel inspired to reinvent themselves on their own, possibly in a new place, considering new work or volunteer positions. When the kids are well on their own, it can be time to join the gray divorcee club.

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Both spouses may be working and have financial independence. Generations ago, when more families were single income-based, the stay-at-home spouse, usually the wife, might not have had been in a good position to get divorced from her husband. In modern times, women have independent careers and finances to support their current and future needs, making divorce much less worrisome.

Stigmas about divorce have changed over recent decades. In the somewhat recent past, divorce was taboo in many faiths and among members of the communities, especially in smaller towns. Today North Texas is a modern collection of cities and towns with all kinds of people. And with technology, it is easier to meet new people. As divorce has become more accepted in society, the fear of what people may think or say, becomes less of a concern.  

Spouses can drift apart and may find new partners. That which attracts people to one another can change over time. We often feel obligated to feel guilty not claiming to still love our partner the same way we did when walking down the aisle. The truth is that marriages take work and constant effort. Another truth is that people want different things over time. It may not be anyone’s fault when a marriage reaches its expiration, it just may be a matter of life.

The divorce attorneys at the Barrows Firm understand middle-aged and senior divorce issues and have the experience and resources to counsel clients on the best path to achieving divorce goals while preparing for the next chapter in life. Make a consultation appointment with Attorney Leslie Barrows and learn your rights and options.

Why Older Couples Are Divorcing, Making Gray Divorce a Thing

Expectations of marriage and marital success are changing and men and women acknowledge their happiness or lack thereof. At points in a marriage, people often ask themselves whether they accomplished their goals. If the couple falls short, why? Is someone more committed to reaching goals while another is fine to settle for less?

When the kids are raised and out of the house, some couples end up looking at each other and thinking, “Now What?” Ideally, empty nesters can re-engage in each other and spend time in activities they both enjoy. But not everyone wants to engage. And when one is holding the other back it can be time to call it quits.

Financial issues lead to gray divorce when expectations are broken, often over many years. Saving for retirement is important but some people have little to show for their financial efforts. When one is a spender and the other a saver, the arguments over the years can lead to the decision to divorce. For some, going at it alone can be easier, especially when being in control of your own money.  

Today: What Is A “Gray Divorce”? 6 Things to Know About Splitting Up Later in Life

Real Estate Issues in Gray Divorce in Texas

Many gray divorce issues focus on money, property, and future needs. Community property subject to division in divorce can include real property, money in accounts, investments, business interests, and more. The important decisions can involve whether one of the parties needs cash liquidity for their needs, versus being okay with long-term investments. Asset valuations are necessary to understand the complete financial picture, so the best decisions can be made about dividing property and assets in a way that makes sense and helps the client reach their personal goals in their gray divorce.

Making the most of your money heading towards retirement and taking a pension is crucial. Downsizing is a goal of many middle-aged and senior couples, for the benefit of saving money when no longer needing a larger space to raise children. However, it might not be the best time to sell a family home. Many couples in gray divorces are focused on their equity and assets taking them through their senior years. The focus must be on the future, and after divorce, we can control our ability to stick to the retirement plan.  

Real estate markets present many options, especially in North Texas. With rising home prices, the marital home might be worth much more, putting more cash on the table to divide. But when the inverse is true, it might be best to hold onto a home and rent it out if that makes financial sense. Deciding what to do next could involve buying a smaller property or a condo. And for many, renting makes sense, and on fixed incomes, it can be a great choice.

Health Issues Affecting Decisions to Divorce, and Future Health Concerns for Middle-Aged and Senior Divorce

Over years of marriage, some people keep their health and wellness a priority, and others let themselves go. Ongoing health conditions can keep couples from being active and enjoying life. Some people seem to age quicker than others, and it can be an issue leading to divorce.

Substance Abuse Disorder issues can affect all marriages, and cause gray divorces. With age, it is harder for many to handle substances and addiction becomes a problem. Many people have a breaking point and after the children are grown and on their own, it can be much easier to say no to someone who won’t act to get help for substance abuse.  

Future healthcare needs can impact divorce decisions for middle-aged and senior men and women considering divorce. Medications, doctor visits, and general healthcare expenses can add up as we age. Making sure we have the best options for available medical care and insurance is important. Making sure you discuss these issues with your divorce attorney is important.

Gray Divorce Rights and Options: Contact the Barrows Firm in Southlake for a Consultation (817) 481-1583