Gray divorce is on the rise—and the longer a couple is married, the more expensive it is for them to breakup. This is because they have acquired more assets, and are closer to or have entered retirement—which means you have limited earning time left, and therefore, time to recover.
Yet the divorce rate among adults 50 and older has doubled since the 1990’s, while going down for all other age groups. There can be many reasons for this, including children having grown and left the nest and couples finding that what they had in common has moved on, and with so little time left, they don’t want to waste any.
Divorce attorneys can charge anywhere from $250.00 to $ 650.00 an hour. The average cost of a divorce falls between $25,000 and $50,000. But if a couple has more to untangle, it can get very expensive. If they go to court to fight it out, triple those costs or more.
With fixed assets, impending retirement, and less chance for future earning to make up the loss—gray divorce should be carefully considered before taking the first steps. If you have to liquidate retirement accounts early, there is a stiff penalty. Taxes will be huge, not to mention lost retirement funds when they are really needed. Then there are the property divisions, and the need to establish two separate households. The result of living on half the income they once expected is often that one or both ex-spouses end up with a lower standard of living. Not what anyone wants to contemplate as they enter their golden years. With all this at stake, it is wise to put in some investment and work to see if the marriage can be turned into a happier and more satisfying one.
Divorce mediation is an option that can greatly reduce legal fees and the time it takes to get a divorce. So there is cost saving up front. The problem is that you will still be living on half of what you had planned when you were a couple, looking forward together towards your retirement years.