Baby boomers are getting divorced at increasingly higher rates. A report in 2021 by the U.S. Census Department found that roughly 35% of people who got divorced in the previous year were 55 years old and older. Divorces involving older couples have earned the nickname “gray divorce” in reference to our hair graying as we age.
The laws governing gray divorces in Georgia are the same for all other divorces. However, older couples often face different issues because of their age and length of marriage. Therefore, hiring an experienced Douglasville gray divorce lawyer can help you deal with the unique challenges that might be present in your case.
The legal team at Bardley McKnight Law has decades of experience handling family law matters. Our Douglasville divorce lawyers are highly-skilled, resourceful, and knowledgeable legal professionals dedicated to achieving positive outcomes for our clients. We’ll advocate for your best interests as we work to secure a favorable outcome in your gray divorce case.
How Our Douglasville Family Law Attorneys Can Help You With a Gray Divorce in Georgia
The Georgia divorce process can be overwhelming. Our Douglasville gray divorce attorneys will guide you through each step in the process. We are highly skilled negotiators and seasoned trial attorneys. We will devote the necessary resources and time to your case to provide personalized solutions tailored to achieve your goals.
There are many factors to consider regarding a gray divorce in Douglasville, Georgia. You might not be concerned with child custody or child support, but alimony, estate planning, and property division could be significant issues in a gray divorce. Additionally, couples married for decades may have difficulty dealing with the emotional and social consequences of ending a long-term marriage.
At Bardley McKnight Law, our Georgia divorce lawyers will work to make the experience as smooth as possible.
When you hire our top-rated family lawyers in Douglasville, you can trust that we’ll handle all matters related to your gray divorce, including:
- Ensuring you understand the Georgia divorce process and your legal rights regarding issues related to your divorce
- Handling all communication with your spouse and their legal counsel
- Assisting you in identifying your goals and priorities
- Exploring options for mediation and uncontested divorce to avoid costly and stressful litigation
- Protecting your best interests regarding financial matters
- Developing a strategy to obtain a successful outcome
- Advocating for you in all court hearings
- Aggressively arguing your case at trial if necessary
Learn more about gray divorces in Georgia and how our Douglasville divorce attorneys can help you by calling us for a case evaluation.
Common Reasons for Gray Divorces in Douglasville, GA
According to research, the divorce rate for older individuals has been lower than the average divorce rate in the United States. Gray divorces only increased slightly between 1970 and 1990. However, gray divorces doubled in 2010.
Some common reasons for gray divorces in Douglasville include:
- All of the children have grown, and couples are experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome, which causes them to focus on their relationship instead of their children
- A lack of sexual activity and physical intimacy
- A spouse commits adultery, including physical and emotional cheating
- Arguments about money and financial matters, including estate planning and retirement
- The spouses have grown apart because of different interests
- Substance abuse or domestic violence
- The spouses have very different plans for how they want to spend their retirement years
- A decrease in communication and emotional connections
- A spouse wants to travel, but the other spouse prefers to stay at home
The growing trend of gray divorces could have its roots in social trends. Divorce does not have the stigma it did several decades ago. It is also easier and less costly to obtain a divorce today.
There is a growing tendency for individuals to focus on self-fulfillment. Therefore, older couples might be less likely to “stick it out” if they are unhappy with their marriage. Couples may no longer feel a moral, religious, or social obligation to stay together.
Issues to Consider When Filing for a Gray Divorce in Douglasville, Georgia
Each divorce case is unique. Therefore, the issues important in your case may differ from other divorces.
However, gray divorces tend to raise issues related to financial matters. Couples married for 20, 30, or 40 years typically have joint assets and property that can be challenging to divide.
Furthermore, because of their age, couples getting gray divorces must seriously consider their financial needs for retirement and long-term care. They need to consider their goals and how their finances after divorce could impact those goals.
Some issues that our Douglasville gray divorce lawyers will help you address to protect your best interests include:
Alimony and Spousal Support
A primary issue in gray divorces is alimony, also called spousal support. Alimony is not guaranteed in Georgia, even if the spouses have been in a long-term marriage. A judge must determine whether there is a need for financial support and the ability to pay support payments.
Georgia Code §19-6-5 lists factors judges consider when deciding whether to grant alimony. The factors include the length of the marriage and each spouse’s financial resources. The factors also include the couple’s standard of living and each spouse’s contributions to the marriage and earning capacity.
Courts can grant four types of alimony in Georgia:
- Temporary alimony while the divorce case is pending
- Periodic alimony that lasts for a definite period
- Lump sum alimony paid in a single payment or interest in property
- Permanent alimony that continues for a spouse’s lifetime or until they remarry
Judges are more likely to grant permanent alimony for long-term marriages, especially if one spouse is a homemaker.
It is important to note that Georgia law provides that a spouse guilty of adultery or desertion is not entitled to alimony. Therefore, the reason for the gray divorce could also impact an alimony decision.
Couples in a gray divorce may have been together for several decades. Therefore, they likely have accumulated substantial marital property. Their property might include significant amounts in retirement accounts, which can be challenging to divide in any divorce case.
Georgia is an equitable distribution state. Therefore, marital property is divided “fairly” instead of evenly. Equitable distribution might sometimes be a 50/50 split, but that is not always the case.
The spouses can agree to the terms of a property settlement through negotiations and/or mediation. However, if they cannot agree, a judge will decide what is fair and equitable.
Factors judges may consider when deciding what is fair for property division include:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marital assets
- The resources, separate property, and income of each spouse
- Whether the spouses had a prenup or postnuptial agreement
- The standard of living during the marriage
- Any evidence of misconduct which resulted in the waste of assets
- The future needs of each spouse
A judge may also consider the reason for the breakup of the marriage. For example, a judge might favor a spouse who had no idea the other spouse was engaged in an affair. The innocent spouse could receive a larger distribution of assets.
Generally, spouses have estate plans that mirror each other. They leave their entire estate to their spouse if the spouse survives them. Likewise, they serve as each other’s power of attorney and healthcare proxy.
Spouses in a gray divorce should consider the implications of their divorce on their estate plan. If they do not address these issues now, it could create problems in the future.
For example, a high-net-worth couple might have an estate plan that reduces or eliminates estate tax by utilizing spousal divisions. A divorce changes these provisions.
Healthcare and Health Insurance
Older adults need to prepare for added expenses related to their healthcare. They also need to plan for long-term care. Gray divorce can impact these matters.
A spouse may have insurance coverage through their spouse. However, after the divorce, they lose their health insurance. Obtaining health insurance when you are older can be more expensive.
Property division and alimony may need to address these matters to ensure both spouses can access the healthcare they need.
Mediation and Settlement in a Gray Divorce
As with all divorces, it is less costly and time-consuming if the spouses can negotiate the divorce terms through private mediation. Couples in a gray divorce may prefer mediation because it provides more privacy.
Furthermore, if each spouse hires an experienced Douglasville divorce lawyer, they will be well-versed in the issues of a gray divorce. The lawyers can assist their clients in settling these issues fairly.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With Our Douglasville Gray Divorce Lawyers
Dealing with a divorce is challenging at any age. Our goal at Bardley McKnight Law is to provide sound legal advice, guidance, and support throughout your case. Reach out to our law office to request a case review with one of our experienced Douglasville gray divorce attorneys.