What is a Grey Divorce?

Grey Divorce” is the term that has been coined for individuals who are older and obtaining a divorce. A lot of times these folks are at or near retirement, and as such, there is a unique set of issues that need to be resolved in their divorce proceedings.

Unique Issues in a Grey Divorce

In the event that the parties are retired, Courts will typically look to award a 50/50 allocation of retirement assets, as well as other assets. The reason for this is because neither party usually plans to earn additional income upon retirement, and they has probably saved all they will save and will be depleting their estates moving forward to sustain their livelihood during retirement. So, it is important to consider whether or not one would still be able to be “retired” on 50% of their retirement assets versus 100% of their retirement assets when considering a “Grey Divorce”. A divorce, oftentimes, could mean a delayed or later retirement than what was initially planned.

Social Security

Spousal support is also typically not something awarded in a “Grey Divorce” when the parties are retired. This is generally because there isn’t any income to award support from. Social security is awarded to the individuals based upon Federal Law and whatever they qualify for and the Illinois State Courts, which have jurisdiction over divorces, cannot make any changes to the social security benefits. So, these are typically “it is what it is” situations with Social Security unless a reason exists for someone to provide “maintenance” from their social security check to the other party, but rarely does this occur.


Medicare is also a consideration for a “Grey Divorce”. This is an expense that has to be considered when looking at social security awards, and property division.

Long Term Care

Finally, something which sometimes gets overlooked in a “Grey Divorce” is the ability for a party to provide for their own long-term care if it is needed, based upon what they will be receiving from the marital estate. Long term care facilities are difficult to get into, and some people don’t have enough assets to get into one, some people have too many assets to get into one. So, thinking about your long term care plans and even enlisting the help of an Elder Law attorney can be an important and integral part of the decision to obtain a “Grey Divorce”. If the divorce has already been obtained, an Elder Law attorney would be able to assist in moving forward and planning for any sort of long term care situation, as needed, so speaking to one is always a good idea, even if the divorce is already over.

Seek Trusted Legal Advice If You are Facing a “Grey Divorce”

A “Grey Divorce” can be a combination of divorce as well as retirement and long term care planning, depending on the situation, and it is always good to enlist the help of legal and financial experts in these areas when making the decision as to whether or not to proceed. At Anderson & Boback, our Chicago divorce attorneys have extensive experience dealing with the unique issues present in a grey divorce. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation to speak with our divorce attorneys.

THIS ARTICLE WAS PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AT: https://illinoislawforyou.com/divorce/what-is-a-grey-divorce/




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