In the past few years, family courts have experienced a “grey divorce” phenomenon. It may take some research to understand the connotation of this interesting term. On first impression, it would appear to mean that divorce agreements are somewhat ambiguous, or filled with grey areas. In reality, it refers to the ages of divorcing couples. At least one in four divorce complaints involves a couple over age fifty. What is the reason behind the grey divorce phenomenon?
According to an article that appeared in the Washington Post, the rate of people divorcing after age fifty has gone up almost two times. Remarkably, it has more than doubled for those over 65. Some baby boomers have come of age and determined that they are not interested in a marriage until eternity. Many of those in this category are on their first marriages. Some were wed as many as twenty, thirty or even fifty years ago. It may come unexpected to the party sued for the divorce.
Researchers believe that the grey divorce phenomenon often mirrors the advent of empty nest syndrome. Parents may feel they have fulfilled their obligations to their children and no longer need to keep the family intact. Once spouses are alone with their mates, they may realize the attraction is gone on more than one level. Infidelity is a factor in a small percentage of divorces involving older couples. Some just relish the idea of living alone. Many have reached the pinnacle of success in their careers and fear sharing their wealth.
The increasing age of divorcing couples and their affluence is a curious combination. Prosperity is often acquired in later years. Here are some issues that often come up in high net worth divorces:
- Retirement plans, such as 401K plans, IRAs, pension plans and more
- Business ownership, including private and professional practices
- Stock options and accumulations
- Real estate/real property
In order to determine the value of assets, it is essential to obtain expert opinions. This includes the retention of forensic accountants and actuarial specialists. It is also crucial to secure legal representation with a strong financial background. This, combined with a clear understanding of the law, will ensure that the business of your divorce receives superior representation.
Sam Stoia has an extensive background in public accounting, as well as in representing family law clients. Sam has also been instrumental in negotiating multi-million dollar business contracts. If your case involves significant assets, contact Sam to discuss your case.