While rates of divorce are going down, splits over the age of 50 are rising. Researchers say that better healthcare and longer life expectancies lend themselves to a feeling of less need to stay together and an increase in divorces. There are also reports that highlight financial difficulties, infidelity, growing apart and addictions factor in.

No matter the reason, any split is difficult. Grey divorce, however, can have its own complications.

Retirement plans

Social security benefits and retirement plans can create challenges in divorce for older adults. A split can change the amount of aid that someone is eligible to receive through government programs and often, couples have to deal with one party’s retirement pension from work. When a couple has spent years planning to pay for retirement together, it can be difficult to split the savings so that each person can live while also balancing which party contributed the most.

Assets and estate planning

Older adults are more likely to have larger estates and more complicated estate plans. Assets may have been purchased before the marriage but altered or improved by both parties. The division of assets can have a big impact of the financial state of each person after the divorce. Estate plans in which spouses are executors, healthcare proxies and beneficiaries may also need alterations.

Insurance and alimony

If one spouse stays at home while the other works and provides insurance through their job, divorce may take away those benefits from the unemployed party. This can be a big loss and difficult to rebuild. The spouse who is not in the job market may also now be on their own, without an income. Many of these individuals must figure out alimony and spousal support payment.

These are only a few of the challenges that come with grey divorce. However, it is sometimes the best decision for everyone involved, no matter how difficult it may be.