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Family LAw J. Ron Boyd The Gray Divorce REVOLUTION Our society tends to focus on the problems of young people, including a generally accepted proposition that younger couples are more likely to divorce than those of other generations. In fact, the divorce rate in the United States has held steady for years at about 45%. While this statistic may in and of itself be alarming, a subset of married couples, i.e., those 50 and over, are divorcing at an increasing rate and may well approach the younger couples’ rate soon. This means that matrimonial lawyers should become educated on issues unique to this age group and the particular challenges presented by the “Gray Divorce.” FUNDAMENTAL ECONOMIC CHALLENGES The most obvious problem is that, with the same assets and income, these parties will be called upon to operate two households. It is very likely that the parties did not anticipate a divorce. In this situation, the parties financial planning goes completely awry. Suddenly the parties face life apart with two households to maintain and retirement looming. What are some of the major economic challenges for the older divorcee? 1. We think of periodic alimony being awarded in long marriages, but even in this very long marriage scenario there may be no practical way to fund periodic alimony. The payer may be retired and living on a limited income. The source of this income may be a draw-down from a 401(k), IRA, 14 Birmingham Bar Association


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