The divorce rate for spouses aged 50 or older in the United States has significantly increased over the past few decades. Divorces between older couples in long-term marriages are known as gray divorces. Divorces late in life have implications on the finances and family lives.
When a couple goes through a divorce in Oregon, they must list their marital and separate property for the courts to distribute the property equitably. Married couples who are middle-aged, seniors, or elderly have accumulated property over a long period of time. In gray divorces, most of the couples’ property was likely acquired jointly and during the marriage.
The marital property at issue in a gray divorce includes real estate property, personal property, Social Security benefits, retirement benefits, pension and more. The court may also decide whether a spouse must cover the other spouse’s health insurance. For divorcing spouses over the age of 60, they may be eligible to receive Medicare coverage.
Sometimes in gray divorces, one spouse may receive spousal support. Three different types of spousal support may be ordered in Oregon: transitional, compensatory, and spousal maintenance. Transitional support is for the receiving spouse to get an education or train to reenter or advance in the workplace. Compensatory support is ordered when one spouse has made a significant financial contribution to the other spouse’s education, training or earning capacity. Spousal maintenance is support paid by one spouse to the other as financial support for a specified or indefinite time period.
People who are over the age of 50 may be retired or preparing to retire. In gray divorces, retirement and pension benefits are marital property that may be subject to equitable distribution in the divorce. This may affect the retiree’s expected funds because a portion may be given to the other spouse.