What is a gray divorce and how does it impact your finances and trust?

A gray divorce is one where the couple have been married for a long time and divorce after the age of 50. In the United States, gray divorces are increasing despite the fact that total divorces have gone down, perhaps because the number of marriages are also going down.

Which is correct? Grey divorce or Gray divorce? Both are correct. Canadians use the Grey spelling and Americans commonly use the Gray spelling. Both refer to elderly.

Financial and other causes of elder divorces

There are many factors which are said to cause aging divorces and here are some of them:

  1. Overspending by one spouse.
  2. Mismanagement of funds and assets.
  3. Too much debt.
  4. Not enough income.
  5. Children have grown up and have left the house so there is nothing else to keep the spouses glued.
  6. Infidelity.
  7. Additions.

Things to consider when contemplating a grey divorce (or any divorce):

Here are some of the issues that come up in every separation and divorce:

  • Can I afford to keep the house?
  • How will the expenses look as a single person?
  • How long will spousal support last?
  • What happens to my pension when I divorce?

What happens to a trust during a gray divorce?

In California, there are ATROS (automatic restraining orders) which go into place as soon as a divorce is filed. Once a divorce is filed and you are served with a summons, you cannot change your trust, joint tenancies, beneficiaries and many items without the consent of the other party or a court order. You can, however, create or modify your will and health care directive during a divorce. Ask us about your estate plan and your divorce, if you are contemplating going that route.

When the family law judge gets ready to terminate the marriage and issues orders, or where the parties agree to settle, judges usually revoke the trust and order that its assets be distributed pursuant to the terms of the divorce judgment or order.

You should discuss the above with your divorce lawyer or family lawyer before you take another step towards a grey divorce. As family trust lawyers, we advise gray divorcing individuals regarding the impact of the divorce and their finances. Call us at 818.340.4479.

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