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Family law: the cost of grey divorce

As the average Canadian life expectancy continues to grow, more and more married couples who might otherwise have remained married into their golden years are opting to end their marriages. The trend of "grey divorce" is familiar to British Columbia family law experts who recognize the unique challenges that come with a divorce in late life. Of particular importance is planning for the cost of such a divorce, which can influence retirement and other considerations for both spouses. 

In the United States, the prevalence of grey divorce has doubled since the 1990s, and the numbers are not very different here in Canada. One possible reason for this uptick is the departing of adult children from the marital home. In some cases, couples find they are no longer the same people they were prior to being wed, and that after years of raising children together, they have little left in common. These individuals may not wish to live another thirty years in a marriage that no longer appeals to them. 

However, considerations must be made in these cases. Division of marital property after a decades-long marriage can be more complicated than a similar distribution for a younger couple, particularly as it concerns retirement savings and/or plans. In addition, the care of elderly parents can be more of a burden on grey divorcees, as a single income is now meant to provide for what a double income once did. 

Obviously each divorce is as unique as the married couple seeking it. However, British Columbia family law experts offer similar advice to those seeking a late-life divorce. The support of dedicated divorce attorneys for each spouse can help cut through the unique challenges of grey divorce and ensure both parties are set up to enjoy their golden years as they best see fit. 

Source:, "A costly "gray divorce" can upend your retirement plans", Tim Sobolewski, Wendy B. Pegan, June 20, 2017

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