An increasing number of older couples in New Jersey and the rest of the United States seem to be wanting to end their unhappy marriages. These so-called gray divorces — which applies to couples who decide to call it quits after the age of 50 — are on the rise and currently outpacing filing rates of younger couples. While there is no age limit on ending an unsatisfying marriage, older individuals tend to face unique concerns when it comes to divorce.

Back in 1990, individuals aged 50 and older represented only 8 percent of all divorces nationwide. In less than 25 years, that rate shot up to 25 percent as of 2014. Some believe that this increase in the gray divorce rate could be in part due to couples deciding that they simply do not want to live out the remainder of their lives in an otherwise unhappy marriage. However, divorcing during the latter years of life has a distinct financial concern — retirement.

Divorcing close to retiring age is not without its risks. Alimony can be more difficult to determine given that one spouse might require a steady income for a brief period while the other is already close to retirement. The problem is so prevalent that a full 83 percent of gray divorces involve fights over alimony, while only 62 percent quarrel over retirement savings.

For most people in New Jersey, ensuring a secure financial future is an important goal of divorce. This is particularly true of those who file after the age of 50. The importance of secure financial footing is relevant at all ages and times, and most divorcees can best prepare for their future by preparing necessary documents and gathering all relevant financial data either prior to or shortly after filing for divorce.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, “Older Americans Are Jeopardizing Their Retirement With Divorce“, Carol Hymowitz, Sept. 29, 2016