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Gray divorce is causing more older Americans to live alone

On Behalf of | Aug 7, 2023 | High Asset Divorce

Life for people in their 60s is quite different than it was when their parents and grandparents were that age. For one thing, Americans are living longer than ever. Thanks to advances in medicine and changed attitudes toward smoking and diet, most people aged 60 and above can expect to live a long time, with hopefully most of those years spent in decent to good health.

For another, more middle-aged and senior Americans have gotten divorced in their lives. And many of them got divorced after age 50, an age when dissolving a marriage used to be rare. But so-called “gray divorce” is becoming increasingly common in New Jersey and the rest of the country. As a result, more and more Baby Boomers are spending their golden years living alone.

More U.S. seniors living alone than ever

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 16 million people aged 65 and above lived alone in 2022. That’s triple the number of older Americans who lived solo in the 1960s and roughly equal to the number of people aged 35-64 who lived by themselves last year. And as boomers continue to age, experts predict more and more of them will enter their retirement years without a spouse or partner at home.

Can you afford to be divorced at 65?

This has several implications, among them the importance of a good property division settlement. A couple getting divorced in their 60s is unlikely to have minor children together, so child custody and child support will not come up. On the other hand, if the couple has been married for a long time, they could have acquired substantial assets, such as a house, vacation home, retirement accounts and other investments. With retirement around the corner, it is critical that each side get a fair portion of these assets so that they can remain financially comfortable as they age.