Florida is where many people come to enjoy their golden years, and so it is also where many people pursue a gray divorce or silver splitter. Even if you lived elsewhere for years, your household may be subject to Florida divorce laws once you have lived in the state for at least six months.
Couples who have remained married for decades may realize when settling into their retirement years that their marriage no longer works. If that describes your current situation, you are not alone. Older adults are now responsible for more divorces than newlyweds in the United States, a reversal of previous trends that saw longer marriages less likely to end in divorce court.
When older couples head to family court, they need to prepare for longer and more complicated divorces. Why are gray divorces often more complex than divorces after shorter marriages?
A longer marriage means more property
One of the simplest reasons for the difficulty in ending a long-term marriage is that you share more with your spouse. You may have fully paid off the home where you live together and invested income for your retirement years.
It is common for divorcing couples to disagree about what is fair and equitable, especially when they are already past the age of retirement. Ensuring you get a fair portion of marital resources will be crucial to your future financial stability, and you may struggle to agree about the right way to divide your assets.
Support may become a major issue
Dividing assets may not be enough to allow both spouses to live independently. Sometimes, one spouse spent much of their adult life supporting the family and raising children, which means they now have limited personal resources to provide for their own needs.
A multiple-decades marriage with a dependent spouse that ends in divorce is more likely to trigger alimony payments. Not only will a dependent spouse have fewer assets in their own name and less ability to seek part-time, gainful employment, but they will probably rely on their spouse’s retirement savings and Social Security benefits. The courts may even consider permanent alimony, which is unusual when shorter marriages end in divorce.
Recognizing that support and property division can quickly complicate your gray divorce may prepare you for negotiations or help you set more realistic expectations for your family court proceedings.