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Are You Looking for a "Gray Divorce?"


A Gray Divorce refers to a demographic trend that has seen an increase in the separation or divorce of older couples who have been married for a long time.

Divorce rates for couples over 50 have doubled in the past decade. These divorces affect financial security issues due to the fewer remaining working years of these couples.

Support for dependent spouses is a big issue. Developing a career later in life is often not a viable option.

As a New York divorce attorney and mediator, I see older couples with long marriages divorcing more often these days. The pandemic has added more stress to these already strained marriages.

Rachel reached out to me early on in the pandemic. She had been a homemaker for 23 years, raising two children, and working part-time from home making quilts, earning about $10,000 per year.

Her husband was a doctor, earning a high six figure salary. When Rachel called me she was very concerned about how she was going to meet her expenses after the divorce having only earned $10,000 per year working from home.

As part of my divorce strategy, we need to find a way to supplement her spousal support. We arranged for her husband to transfer more than the typical 50% of his retirement assets to her. Since she was over 59 1/2, she did not have to pay a penalty to withdraw and use this money.

Since she had to pay taxes on what she took out, we also arranged for her to receive extra funds with which to pay the taxes on her share. I prepared a Qualified Domestic Relations Order so this could be a tax-free transfer to her.

Another way for her to be protected was to have her husband elect survivor's benefits. She was also eligible for social security based on her husband's earnings history, since they had been married for over 10 years.

The couple had other assets, including securities accounts and real estate. After a long marriage, Rachel was entitled to perhaps 50% of these assets.

Tax issues had to be reviewed carefully. There is an exclusion from income for gain from the sale or exchange of a principal residence of up to $250,000 for single individuals and $500,000 for couples filing jointly. We had to figure out whether the house sale would take place before or after the divorce was final.

Since the children were over age 21, the couple did not have to deal with child support or custody in their agreement. Her husband was already paying for college and graduate school for the children.

Rachel was lucky because there were sufficient assets and income to provide financial security for her, and her husband was astute enough to realize that she was entitled to what she would receive and that it was better to negotiate a settlement than go to court.

There are many other instances in which wealthy spouses try to hang on to all of their money, which is why we hear about those cases so often in the news.

It takes sophisticated legal advice to plan a late-life divorce. As a seasoned divorce attorney for over 35 years and mediator with medical training, I have the skills necessary to guide you through this type of divorce.

Sometimes I engage the assistance of my team of experts which consists of trust and estate attorneys, accountants, tax lawyers, and financial advisors, to ensure all issues are thoroughly addressed. If you are thinking of divorce, call me, I can help you!

Don’t stay in a long-term unhappy, unhealthy marriage that’s just dragging on and on because you are afraid you won’t be able to provide for yourself or your family.

Our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS arevery informative and conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk!

I look forward to speaking with you.

Continue to stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


Call New York Attorney Lois Brenner Now to schedule your FREE consultation and to find out more about a gray divorce!

Call 212.734.1551 now.

Immediate and discreet consultations are available upon your request.