What to Know Before Filing for a Gray Divorce

Many marriages end in divorce. If your marriage is on the rocks, you may be considering waiting to file for divorce. Maybe you are expecting some money or waiting for the kids to go off to college.

However, you do not want to wait too long. Divorces get tougher as you age. Sure, you may be mature emotionally, but you likely have a lot more assets than you did when you were in your 20s and 30s. Because assets have to be split in a divorce, you are looking at a complex situation, especially if you have assets that are harder to split, such as stocks and retirement plans. 

Gray divorces—late-in-life divorces involving couples over the age of 50—can be problematic. Read on to see what issues you should know about before you file for one. 


The longer a marriage, the more likely alimony may be at play, especially if one spouse did not work much and is dependent on the other. Alimony is based on the higher-earning spouse’s income, and there could be a lot of compensation at stake, such as bonuses, stock options, and travel allowances. This means a person close to retirement could be using a lot of their income to support their former spouse.

Retirement Plans

Retirement plans may also need to be split in a divorce. The process, however, can be very difficult, since the value of these plans can go up and down. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) may be required. Plus, there are taxes and early withdrawal fees to consider. If possible, you may want to direct your spouse to another asset instead of going through the process of splitting up your retirement plan.


As people get older, inheritances come into play. While inheritances are technically separate property, if you put your inheritance money into your joint account, it then becomes marital funds. This means your inheritance is commingled and therefore subject to split in a divorce.

Family Issues

Even if you are going through a gray divorce, you may still have children at home or in college. You will need to come up with an agreement on how to care for them. 

Even if your children are grown, you may worry about protecting them financially. This often means updating your estate plan (if you already have) or creating one to ensure your ex-spouse (and any children they may have from a former relationship) do not get the assets you worked so hard to earn in the event of your death.

Contact a Chicago Divorce Attorney

Divorces are often easier when the spouses are younger and have not been married as long. As a couple gets closer to retirement age, things get more complicated, especially from a financial point of view.

Let the divorce attorneys at Arami Law, Inc. guide you through the process. If you are facing a gray divorce, contact us today so we can better understand your situation and get you on the right track. Call our office or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation.

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