Gray Divorce

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “How should I prepare if I intend to file for divorce in the near future?”

Divorce rates have been on the decline for the last decade or more. For those that end in divorce, the median length of the first marriage is about 12 years. While the divorce rate on average is going down, the divorce rate among older individuals is actually rising. Baby boomers are continuing to divorce at a higher rate than those who are younger. Baby boomers are those people who were born between 1946 and 1964. If you are ending your marriage, you may want to seek guidance from a knowledgeable divorce attorney.


Divorce Rates for Boomers

The average divorce rate has been declining over the years since a peak in the 1980s. The divorce rate among older individuals, however, continues to be high. The divorce rate has doubled for people aged 55 to 64 and tripled for those aged 65 and over since the 1980s. There may be various reasons to explain the difference.



Couples are waiting longer to marry and are not as inclined to divorce. Between the 1940s through the 1970s, the average age of a bride was close to 20 years old. Today, that age is up to about 27. Also, couples often live together today before they get married whereas couples did not live together first in earlier years.


For older couples, a divorce is a common option and one that comes without societal stigmas. Boomers may realize that they are not happy and want to end their marriages. At the same time, the life expectancy is high, so boomers know that they still have quite a bit of life left to enjoy. Couples who divorce when they are older may not be as apt to remarry again as those who are younger when they end their marriages.


Gray Divorce is More Complicated

Divorcing later in life can be more complicated than for those who are younger. Couples who have been married for a long time have accumulated a large number of assets. They may also have complex issues to deal with such as splitting IRAs and pension funds. In North Carolina, property that is accumulated during the marriage should be divided in an equitable manner when a couple divorces. Couples who have been married for a long time often have more assets than they do debts to divide. Both parties can receive assets that allow them to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed.


Divorce Settlement Issues

When you decide to divorce you and your spouse need to work to try to come to an agreement regarding the settlement terms. Older couples generally do not have young children at home and therefore, they may only have financial matters to consider. Negotiation and compromise are often necessary components of an equitable settlement arrangement. With help from your divorce attorney, you can resolve any sticking points and agree to terms that are fair and equitable. To seek legal assistance for a divorce, call us today at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 for a consultation.







The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.



Baby Boomer: Definition, Years, Date Range, Retirement & Preparation (

Separation and Divorce | North Carolina Judicial Branch (


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