It may be surprising to people in Colorado when a friend or relative who has been married for decades announces they are ending their marriage. However, "gray divorces" -- that is, divorces among those age 50 and older -- are becoming more common, and, in fact, the rate of such splits has increased two-fold since 1990. Those going through a gray divorce may face different issues than their younger counterparts.
For example, those going through a gray divorce may be on their second or subsequent marriage and, thus, have divorced in the past. According to one report, the divorce rate for those age 50 or older who are in their second or subsequent marriage is 2.5 times greater than that for couples in their first marriage. That being said, the decision to divorce among older couple is not often an impulsive one. Those of any age who decide to divorce may come to that decision after many months or even years of contemplation and attempts to resolve their marital issues.
When a couple has minor children, the issues of child custody and child support are some of the most important issues they will have to resolve when they divorce. Older couples, whose children are grown, will not face these issues. However, other issues, such as the division of assets and spousal maintenance may be some of the most significant issues older couples face in a divorce, especially if they are retired.
In the end, whether a couple is divorcing after only a few years of marriage or whether they are divorcing after decades, it is important that they understand the legal issues they will face. When they understand what their options are, they may be placed in a better position to negotiate a divorce settlement that meets the needs of all involved. And, should negotiations fail, those who understand what their legal options are may be able to present their case to the court in a manner that is strong and informative.