The number of divorces involving older adults who’ve been married for several decades continues to grow. Often referred to as gray divorces, these cases present several challenges.

Spousal Support

In cases where both spouses have yet to reach full retirement age, keep in mind that it may not be realistic to expect a lower-earning or stay-at-home spouse to become financially self-supporting. Despite laws preventing age discrimination, the job market can be brutal for applicants over 50. A spouse who has been out of the workforce for many years raising a family will face even greater challenges.

Alimony may be necessary to maintain the marital standard of living following a gray divorce. New Jersey law allows for open-duration alimony when a marriage lasted 20 years or more.


A 401(k), IRA, or pension is subject to equitable division under New Jersey law. This means that both spouses have a claim to retirement funds, regardless of whose name is initially listed on the account. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is often used to divide retirement assets.

Since it’s harder to bounce back from setbacks after age 60, it’s vital that retirement planning be a top priority in a gray divorce. Consult a financial advisor to learn how to manage your post-divorce finances appropriately.

Health Insurance

In a gray divorce where one spouse received health insurance from the other’s employer, obtaining new coverage can be a challenge. Spouses who are too young for Medicare and not currently working may find their options for affordable coverage to be limited. Since going without insurance is not an option due to the increased healthcare costs associated with aging, planning for the cost of insurance needs to be considered as part of the divorce settlement.

Relationships With Adult Children

Although a later-in-life divorce probably won’t involve a child custody battle, adult children can complicate matters when they have strong feelings about the division of marital property. For example, your adult child may object to your desire to sell the marital home or family heirlooms with sentimental value.

Retaining a law firm focused on fairly and rationally resolving disputes can help keep family conflict to a minimum as you decide on your next steps. Call today to speak to the team at Carl Taylor Law.

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