Tuesday, 25 June 2024

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Think you know gray divorce? You have no idea

Think you know gray divorce? You have no idea

Moyo Studio | E+ | Getty Images

It used to be when you talked about marriage and the “golden years,” the picture was a traditional one. Get married, work hard, buy a house, have children and retire surrounded by family and some grandchildren.

Divorce was a hush-hush topic and a rare occurrence. However, as the world has changed, the definition of marriage, family, and divorce have all morphed.

Millennials and Gen Xers view the experience differently than earlier generations, and divorce is no longer as taboo.

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While every divorcing couple has legal and logistical issues to weigh, for those facing a divorce later in life, commonly referred to as a “gray” divorce, there are even more questions, such as supporting older children, addressing retirement and reestablishing a plan for the future.

With divorce rates among those age 65 and above reaching record highs, here are some questions to ask yourself should you find yourself among their ranks.

What if I’m navigating college expenses?

Gray divorce is often associated with retirees or empty nesters, but with the shift in the definition of family, and the fact that couples are increasingly marrying later in life, many people are building families well into their 40s and 50s.

As a result, older divorcing couples today may have more complex family and financial responsibilities and, as a result, different concerns than their counterparts who married earlier in life.

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College education creates different challenges for later-in-life family builders. Unlike in gray divorces in years past, educational expenses might become a more pressing factor in your divorce settlement. To negotiate these terms, be sure you’re on the same page about what secondary education may include, timelines and expenses.

While lots of parents consider the distance from home, the program of study and how the school will help develop their child, divorcing parents must dive deeper. Is college limited to four years? Can they study abroad?

For parents who thought they would retire in their late 50s or early 60s, thoughts about funding education — especially if there are multiple children in the home when divorce occurs — drift to cost, making the target age for retirement later and later.

How can gray divorce affect my retirement?

Divorcing later in life can create financial aftershocks for…

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