Alternatives to Gray Divorce In Denver

Alternatives to Gray Divorce In Denver

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Most of us consider the older generation as happily married grandparents smiling out at us from old photo albums, but surprising studies show a rise in divorce numbers for seniors—or gray divorces.

Baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1954) now head for divorce court in growing numbers. Data from a study between 1990 and 1921 shows an overall rise in divorces for couples over the age of 45, with the highest divorce rate among those aged 65 and up.

But why are senior citizens deciding to untie the knot at rates now higher than those of younger spouses? Are there alternatives that aging Americans should consider before making their marriage a matter they put before a judge?

Why Are Gray Divorces On The Rise?

Why Are Gray Divorces on the Rise?

Data suggests that having no children living at home, enduring financial disputes, and developing differing goals for retirement are among the most common causes of elder divorces.

These common issues of contention combined with longer lifespans, the lessening of the “taboo” once associated with divorce, more opportunities for women to be independent all contribute to a higher elder divorce rate.  Also, for the first time in American history, many elder Americans are on their second marriages—which statistically end in divorce more often than first marriages.

Surprisingly, some data also shows that both active-living style retirement communities and social media play significant roles in the increasing numbers of elder divorces as today’s senior citizens have increased options for social engagement with others and to form new relationships.

Should Divorce Be the Go-To Standard for Elders Who Are Unhappy in Their Marriage?

Not all American elders want to face the legal impacts of divorce as well as the emotional ones, especially after a long-term marriage when they’ve commingled their assets for decades. Complex holdings make marital property difficult to fairly divide.

In these cases, some elder spouses avoid divorce court and simply choose to live separate lives while remaining legally married. Some even choose to remain living in the same home as roommates but no longer have a romantic connection or share a bedroom.

This arrangement works well for senior citizens who share adult children and grandchildren since they are both present when family visits. If the spouses remain civil—or even friendly and supportive—staying legally married while free to pursue their separate interests, including romantic relationships, is a viable option.

Is Legal Separation a Good Option Rather Than Gray Divorce?

Not all states have an option for legal separation, but Colorado and several other states provide this divorce alternative for spouses who wish to live separate lives while remaining legally married.

This has many benefits for spouses with shared benefits like health insurance and pension plans who no longer want to live together or have a romantic relationship but who don’t want to divorce. Under a legal separation, one spouse can inherit property from the other after a spouse’s death.

A legal separation requires spouses to agree on a fair division of their marital assets and debts just as in a divorce. Spousal support from one spouse to the other may also be a requirement of the legal separation.

What Are Some Other Alternatives to Divorce For Older Couples?

There are other alternatives to ending a long-term marriage either through a divorce or legal separation. Arguments, disagreements, and even dissimilar interests and lack of a romantic connection don’t have to mean the end of the marriage. Other alternatives to a gray divorce include the following:

  • Marital counseling to rebuild the marriage
  • Choosing to continue the marriage platonically with or without the option of an open marriage allowing new relationships depending on whether or not both spouses agree
  • A trial separation

Rather than going straight to divorce court or even to legal separation, some aging spouses decide on a trial separation which they may choose for a limited time until they reach a decision or it could become an indefinite separation without involving the legal system so the spouses retain their legal obligations to each other without living together or having a relationship.

Contact A Denver Family Law Attorney Today

When facing divorce at age 50 and up, it’s important for couples to carefully consider their choices and speak with an experienced Denver family law attorney about the legal implications of all options available to them.