Couples over the age of 50 are divorcing at a higher rate than any other age demographic. People have come to refer to the phenomenon as gray divorce.
Both gray divorce and high-asset divorce pose their own challenges. When a divorcing couple over 50 also has high assets, the issues can overlap with one another. U.S. News and World Report describes some of these issues.
1. Ignorance of financial matters
In high-asset couples, it is common for one spouse to handle most of the financial matters and for the other to be largely ignorant of them. In the event of a divorce, the latter spouse can be at a distinct disadvantage.
There is often a gendered aspect to this issue, with the husband typically handling the finances and the wife being in ignorance of them.
2. Disparity of earning
It is also common for one spouse in a high-asset marriage to have earned most of the money in the relationship while the other has not worked. If the spouse who earned the money was also the one primarily responsible for managing household finances, this can put the other spouse at an even greater disadvantage.
3. Lack of a premarital agreement
A premarital agreement identifies separate property so that, in the event of a divorce, each spouse gets back what he or she owned prior to the marriage. Unfortunately, if the marriage took place many decades ago, there may not have been a prenuptial agreement because of the stigma surrounding them at the time. This may make property division more difficult and contentious.
At any time after the marriage, it is possible for the couple to create a postnuptial agreement. This can be as effective as a prenuptial agreement at identifying separate property that each spouse owned prior to the marriage.