Gray Divorce

Divorce rates for people over the age of 55 have skyrocketed in the past 35 years. For the first time ever, older adults are more likely to be divorced than they are to be widowed, and the divorce rate is expected to continue climbing as the Baby Boomer generation ages.

Commonly referred to as “gray divorces,” the separation of older couples often results in significant financial and other lifestyle changes. Because the majority of older divorced couples built their lives with their ex-spouse, the process of untangling and separating enmeshed lives can be very difficult.

If you are considering divorce after a long-term marriage, here are a couple things you should keep in mind:


In Virginia, the court can order either spouse to pay the other spousal support or alimony.

When deciding whether to award alimony, one of the court’s significant considerations is the length of your marriage. In the case of a marriage lasting twenty (20) years or more, it is very likely that a spouse will receive support (alimony) payments. This support can be granted for a term of years, or may extend for life.


In an equitable distribution state like Virginia, the amount of money accumulated in a retirement or pension account during the marriage and before separation is considered marital property and may be split between you and your ex-spouse.

For example, suppose you and your employer have been contributing to a defined contribution retirement account for 25 years. You worked for 7 years prior to your marriage, and then continued through your separation 18 years later. Your spouse will only be entitled to share the benefits you accumulated in those 18 years of work which coincided with your marriage.

If you are going through a divorce after many years of marriage or have any other family law issue, you should contact a knowledgeable family law attorney right away. The experienced family law attorneys at the DiPietro Family Law Group have decades of experience handling all types of family law matters and are here to help you.

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