In Minnesota and across the United States, a growing number of older people are moving forward with a divorce. This is frequently called a “gray” divorce. The reasons for divorce can range from no longer having the same life goals to experiencing boredom, dissatisfaction and unhappiness. While the overall divorce rate has been in decline and is at its lowest point in four decades, people 55 and older are increasingly choosing to part ways.

There are unique challenges with gray divorce. Alimony is a common concern in any divorce, but older people are likely well advanced in their career. This can complicate the amount of alimony because the salary can have different aspects like bonuses and stocks in addition to salary. Since Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, the court seeks to come to a fair split, and it might not be 50-50. Assets and income can be impacted.

If there were inheritances during the marriage, it will likely be categorized as separate property and not be shared. However, it is not always that easy. Assets could be mixed together, and there is potential for dispute. In addition, Social Security is accrued through a person’s earnings. The spouse might have the right to get a portion of the Social Security benefits. The marriage generally must have lasted for at least 10 years and meet other restrictions.

Often, when spousal support is ordered, the paying spouse will need to have life insurance to protect the person receiving payments in case of death. Those in the middle of a gray divorce will probably have retirement accounts and pension plans as well that could be divided. For advice and guidance throughout a gray divorce, having legal assistance may be critical.