Sometimes called “gray divorce,” ending your marriage after age 50 comes with special considerations. You may be ending a second or third marriage, or you may have spent decades with your spouse and share significant assets.
Review these unique concerns if you are an older adult thinking about divorce.
A study by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research found that on average, wealth drops by about 50% among those who divorce after age 50. This effect disproportionately impacts women, who see their standard of living decline by an average of 45% after divorce compared to about 21% for men. In the United States, divorced people ages 63 and older have a higher poverty rate than others in the same age group.
Protecting your assets with a prenuptial agreement, negotiating a fair division of property and requesting spousal support if necessary can help shield you from these concerns.
The stress of divorce can also worsen health problems for older adults. This age group experiences elevated rates of depression, anxiety and chronic stress after a marriage ends. NCFMR researchers also reported an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, high blood pressure and fatigue.
Continue to care for your health as you go through a divorce. You may want to see a therapist to talk through your feelings about the split. Staying active and avoiding alcohol and other risky behaviors can also reduce these health risks.
Preparing for these concerns before you negotiate a divorce agreement with your spouse can help you thrive after ending your marriage in your 50s, 60s or beyond.