The reality of gray divorce in Ohio

Research out of Ohio shows that gray divorce is on the rise. Couples in this situation have unique issues to address during the divorce.

The term gray divorce is currently used to refer to the wave of baby boomers that are moving forward with a divorce. The speculated reasons for this trend vary and include everything from waiting until the children leave the house to move forward with a divorce to a shift in the expectations of marriage, a belief that those who are married expect the union to result in individual fulfillment and satisfaction. When these expectations are not met, the marriage fails. Since divorce is no longer viewed with the same social stigma it once held, the process is a much more viable option than it was in the past.

Yet the divorce rate has remained fairly stable. As noted by recent research conducted by Ohio's Bowling Green State University, this stability makes the fact that gray divorce is on the rise even more striking as it suggests younger couples are at less risk of divorce. In fact, the divorce rate for those ages 55 to 64 has doubled, while the divorce rate for those over the age of 65 has tripled.

Special concerns for those divorcing when over the age of fifty

The rate of divorce for those over the age of 50 doubled between the years of 1990 and 2010. Divorce at this time or later in life has a much different impact than a divorce between couples in their twenties. Twp specific realities that must be accounted for include:

  • Property division. Those who are in their fifties and considering divorce have likely had decades to accumulate wealth together. From real property to stock portfolios, retirement assets to valued pieces of art - these assets can hold significant value. As such, the property division portion of a divorce for couples at this time in their lives is particularly important. Ohio provides for an equitable distribution, meaning the courts will try to divide the property in a manner that is deemed fair. Various considerations are taken into account when making this determination, including the length of the marriage.
  • Paperwork. It is very likely that couples divorcing at this point will need to divide retirement assets. Many retirement assets will not be split after a divorce unless the spouse receiving a portion of the asset receives a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). A divorce settlement agreement is not enough to require payment of the asset.

A failure to property account for these considerations during divorce can make for a very difficult transition after divorce. As such, it is wise for those in this situation to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can better ensure your interests are protected.