Premier Family Law Representation In Southern Florida

Mark Abzug

3 common misconceptions about gray divorce

On Behalf of | May 19, 2024 | Divorce

When a marriage fails and the spouses decide to call it quits, divorce is the legal dissolution of their union. Gray divorce is the term used for the dissolution of marriages among older adults, typically aged 50 and above. 

Despite its prevalence, there are several common misconceptions surrounding gray divorce, such as the following.

1. It is easier than younger divorce

Divorce at any age presents a major shift in one’s life, and gray divorce is no exception. While older couples may have fewer concerns about child custody and support, they often face complex financial issues, such as dividing retirement accounts and pension plans accumulated over decades. They may also encounter emotional hurdles, including the impact of separating after many years of shared history and intertwined lives.

2. Social security benefits are divided

Under Florida law, Social Security benefits are considered separate property and are generally not subject to division in divorce proceedings. This misconception stems from a lack of understanding of how Social Security benefits are treated in divorce settlements. In reality, each spouse’s Social Security benefits are based on their individual work history and earnings, and they are not automatically divided between divorcing spouses. However, if one spouse is eligible for spousal benefits based on the other spouse’s work record, they may still be entitled to receive them, provided certain conditions are met.

3. Property is divided equally

Being an equitable distribution state, the misconception that property is divided equally in gray divorce overlooks the nuanced approach taken by the legal system. In states that follow equitable distribution principles, including Florida, assets acquired during the marriage are divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s financial contributions, earning potential and individual needs are taken into account when determining how property is divided. Therefore, assuming that assets will be split down the middle may lead to unrealistic expectations and disputes during the divorce process.

If you’re considering a gray divorce, seeking legal guidance is essential to understand the process and better ensure your rights are safeguarded.