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The economic perils of a gray divorce

| Mar 17, 2021 | Divorce |

A challenging area is that involving New Jersey divorces among people over the age of 50. Marriage dissolution among people in this age category sometimes is referred to as “gray divorce.” While ending a marriage at any time in a person’s life can cause tremendous challenges, people who divorce over the age of 50 are particularly susceptible to financial upheaval.

Increase in divorce rate for people over 50

A Pew Research Center study revealed a sharp increase in the divorce rate in recent years among people 50 years old and older. Over the course of the past 25 to 30 years, the divorce rate among people over 50 has approximately doubled. The divorce rate for people 65 and older has about tripled during that same time period.

Financial consequences of a gray divorce

A basic negative financial consequence of a gray divorce is found in the fact that two people living independently is more expensive than a couple living together. As a consequence, even a couple who has been relatively diligent in saving for retirement will find those resources being utilized at a faster pace.

A family law and marriage dissolution study by Bowling Green University determined that Social Security benefits tended to be lower for individuals who experienced a gray divorce than was the case for people in the same age cohort who remained married. Additionally, 19% of those who had a gray divorce live in poverty.

The financial perils that follow a gray divorce continue throughout the lives of individuals who ended their marriages after 50. For example, a higher percentage end up in long-term care facilities because they lack the support of a spouse that often permits people the ability to afford different alternatives.