Senior couple upset and not speaking after argument

Divorcing Later in Life

Oleen Law Firm Sept. 15, 2023

When a couple divorces later in life—sometimes called a grey or silver divorce—they’ll have to take into account certain considerations that those who are younger may not. Because of this, it’s important to educate yourself about these factors and how best to protect your interests during your divorce.

To schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney in Kansas, reach out to Oleen Law Firm. Here, we bring more than 50 years of experience to serve individuals and families in Manhattan, Junction City, and the rest of Kansas. 

Common Reasons People Divorce Later in Life 

Divorce can happen to any couple at any stage in life, but there are some common reasons for divorcing later in life. These can include: 

  • Retirement: When one or both spouses retire, this is often a catalyst for divorce. Once a person doesn’t have a job to go to every day, they can feel like they have no purpose anymore and may become dissatisfied with their life. Additionally, retired couples aren’t accustomed to spending so much time together and may realize they don’t want to stay together anymore. 

  • Empty-nesters: When the oldest child finally moves out of the house, some couples may choose to divorce, having only stayed together for the sake of the kids and to make parenting easier.  

  • Growing apart: If you’ve been married for two, three, or four decades, it’s likely you’ve grown apart from your spouse and are now ready to move on to something new in your life. People today are living much longer and if you divorce in your 50s or 60s, you still have many years ahead of you to find a new partner. 

  • Illness or injury: If one spouse has become ill or disabled, it can put a real strain on the marriage. This, too, can lead to divorce. 

Gray Divorce Considerations 

Division of Assets 

One of the most important considerations when divorcing later in life is how you will divide assets with your spouse. At this point, many of your assets will be considered marital property and will need to be divided equitably.  


Alimony is almost always awarded temporarily and is sometimes never awarded at all. For older couples, though, it may have to be paid out much longer. Typically, alimony (otherwise known as spousal support) is meant to help the lower-earning spouse get back on their feet and find employment. However, if an older spouse is disabled or past their earning years, they may not ever be able to work. In this case, alimony may have to be paid out for the rest of their life. 


Couples in their 60s and 70s will have likely been putting money aside in a retirement fund for years. This money will have accumulated wealth over this time and it can be difficult to know who should get what and how to split it. When taking payments from a retirement account there are often penalties and tax implications. These factors will have to be considered. 

Life Insurance 

If you’ve been ordered to pay alimony, you may also have to take out a life insurance plan as well for the amount and duration that the alimony is expected to last. 

Social Security 

Finally, many people in their 60s have begun taking payments from their Social Security accounts. In some cases, a spouse can draw upon your account, and this may even be an option after a divorce. It’s important to reach out to a divorce attorney for more information about this.  

Mistakes to Avoid 

As with any separation, there are certain mistakes when divorcing later in life that you’ll need to watch out for. The first mistake is not working with an experienced lawyer. Other common mistakes include not taking an accurate account of your assets and debts, not paying attention to tax implications, or attempting to hide assets from your spouse. 

Reliable Legal Assistance 

No one should have to go through any kind of divorce alone. If you’re in the Manhattan, Kansas area and you’d like to sit down with an attorney to discuss the process of divorcing later in life, reach out to us at Oleen Law Firm.