Toronto Divorce Lawyer
According to the National Post article, at a time when you might expect married baby boomers to be settling into retirement together, more and more married couples in this demographic are filing for divorce. Researchers have documented sharp increases in “grey” divorce rates among baby boomers in Canada, India, Australia, and the United States. The same article noted that a decade ago, only about ten percent of their divorce clients were over the age of 50, however, today, that number is about 40 percent. Interestingly, the age group comprised of those 60 and older saw the most significant change; divorce rates for this demographic nearly doubled over the past decade.
As you might expect, while some of the issues associated with divorce are the same for any age group, there are also notable differences for senior divorces. If you are considering a “later-in-life” divorce, these differences could impact your future in ways you never imagined. It is important to have a strong advocate in your corner—a lawyer who understands that because you have fewer earning years ahead of you, issues like asset division and spousal support can be crucial. Musson Law can help you move forward in your life in the best way possible by thoughtfully addressing the issues specific to “grey” divorce. With more than fifteen years of experience, we have a history of negotiating successful settlements for our clients, even when challenging dynamics are present.
Why Are Divorces Among Older Canadians Increasing?
Divorce can be difficult for those of any age, but sometimes it is simply inevitable. The social stigma surrounding divorce has significantly diminished over the years. This means that some couples who stayed together in the 70s, 80s, or 90s simply because they were worried about what others might think, may no longer consider that concern. Some married baby boomers may be looking ahead to the next phase of their life (retirement), which doesn’t look very rosy when they realize they don’t much care for the person they will be spending it with. Some additional reasons grey divorces are increasing include:
- Financial management issues—While money is a major issue for married couples, no matter their age, couples who have struggled with debt for a significant number of years, or those who have been fighting about money management styles for years, might be ready to throw in the towel. Perhaps one spouse has made most of the decisions regarding money through the years, or one spouse has chronically overspent or mismanaged funds. Although a divorce for those over the age of 50 can be financially challenging, an individual may decide he or she would rather handle their own money, even if there is less to handle.
- Infidelity—The stereotype of the older man finding younger women attractive certainly occurs among older married men and is just as valid for older women. Infidelity can wreck a marriage, no matter what ages the spouses are, but older married couples do not stay together for the children. The spouse who finds his or her partner has been unfaithful may look ahead, determining that when the remaining years are relatively short, there is no good reason to “waste” those years on a cheating spouse.
- The couple grew apart—Often, once the children are grown and gone, a couple may realize they have little in common. It may be difficult to even recognize the person they once loved and felt passion for when there are no children’s schedules to act as a distraction.
- Better overall health and life expectancy rates—The life expectancy for baby boomers is considerably higher than for prior generations. Those over the age of 50, 60, or even 70 now have the time to discover the things that make them happy. If a spouse is not one of those happiness-inducers, it could be time to make a life change.
What Are Some of the Issues with Grey Divorces?
Although you might think adult children would not be a consideration in a grey divorce, many parents hesitate to dissolve the family unit which their children have grown accustomed to. Adult children may feel as though they must take sides in their parent’s divorce and may have a difficult time adapting to an older parent’s new dating life. Grey divorce can have a significant impact on family finances, with the division of assets and property becoming a veritable landmine.
Older couples are more likely to have retirement accounts, life insurance policies, Social Security benefits, and investments. Older couples who have been married for a significant number of years are also more likely to have one spouse—usually the wife—who stayed home to raise the children and take care of the home, foregoing educational and career opportunities of his or her own. When one spouse was financially dependent on the other throughout the marriage, the transition to independence can be much more difficult.
While the dependent spouse could be entitled to spousal support, the other spouse may not have a significant number of working years ahead and may not have a retirement account to divide. The dependent spouse may have few job skills to aid in the search for employment, and in general, living alone at older ages has been found to be detrimental to the financial comfort of both spouses. During and after a grey divorce, both spouses may also need to do the following:
- Mitigate tax liability to the extent possible;
- Find a new place to live;
- Find a job;
- Update existing estate plans;
- Consider health and life insurance;
- Obtain an accurate valuation of the marital home, and other valuable assets, and
- Consider the impact of a prior divorce which included spousal support and/or child support.
How the Musson Law Firm Can Help with a Grey Divorce
At Musson Law, our values set us apart from other firms, guiding all that we do, and ensuring an exceptional experience for all clients. If you are considering a late-in-life divorce, we fully understand the issues you will face. We offer outstanding client service, using creativity and innovation to find the very best solution for your unique circumstances. Using a combination of collaborative law, mediation, arbitration, and, when necessary, litigation, Musson Law will work hard on your behalf to negotiate the best settlement possible, even when challenges present themselves. Contact Musson Law today.