“Her biological clock is ticking.”

That phrase is thankfully less common today but used to be said frequently about women in their 30s who lack children. While that offensive notion is fading into the past there’s another ticking sound in the minds of baby boomers: the “tick, tick, tick” on the way to a gray divorce.

Divorce rates are down overall but boomers are the exception. The divorce rate among couples 50 years of age and older has doubled, and the rate for couples 65 years and older has tripled. It’s almost as if people reach their golden years and take stock of their life, asking questions like “do I really want the status quo for the time I have left?” and decide they have time for one more big change: a divorce.

Regardless of the reason for the increase in gray divorce, it’s crucial that people considering divorce at that age realize that there is more on the line in a gray divorce than divorces elsewhere in the color palette.

Gray Divorce And Finances

When a couple in their 20s, 30s and even 40s gets a divorce, there are still plenty of traditional working years remaining to reestablish their finances and make sure they are on a firm path toward retirement. A couple getting divorced in their 50s and especially their 60s doesn’t have that luxury; they need to make sure that any divorce settlement meets their needs in the next phase of their life.  Once the financial dust settles, it’s also crucial for people to revisit their estate plans and make sure they reflect their new financial reality.

Don’t Forget About Health Care 

Healthcare is a major concern for men and women who find themselves between employer coverage and Medicare in their late 50s and early 60s. Their options include cost-prohibitive individual plans or the uncertainty that comes with shopping on health care exchanges that can vary in competitiveness on a state-by-state basis. It’s crucial for such folks to make sure that any divorce agreement provides or preserves necessary funds for health care premiums, copays, and deductibles.

Call it the gray divorce clock, call it a midlife crisis; call it whatever you want. The bottom line is that no matter the reason for divorce, the silver foxes among us have a unique set of concerns that must be addressed in the event of a divorce. It’s a jungle out there: Make sure you have an attorney who can help you protect what’s yours.

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