Getting a divorce after 45 years of marriage or more is an overwhelming shock, and not just for you. Everyone in your life will feel the impact. Your assets may be divided; your friends and family may even be forced to choose sides.

The biggest part of your life, as you’ve known it for the past several decades, has come to an end. Where do you even begin to piece your new life together? You begin right here.

We at MGM law know what you’re going through. We’ve had decades of experience helping people just like you through this difficult transition. And we’ll help you, too.

With time and proper handling, this situation will get better. That’s why, in addition to practicing law, we’ve written you this guide for senior citizens getting a divorce. Learn the basics of navigating through a gray divorce with the following overview.

Emotional Aspects of Getting a Divorce

The reasons for getting a divorce abound. So the specifics of each divorce case are as different as snowflakes. But here are a few tips to help you cope with some common emotional issues of a gray divorce.

The Divorcer vs the Divorcee

The one who initiates the divorce has obviously been preparing for it emotionally for quite some time. They’ve made enough peace with it that they are able to start going through the official process.

The divorcee, then, is typically less prepared. It may come as an absolute shock that shatters any sense of security they had about their life. Needless to say, at such a late stage in life, a heavy shock like this can trigger serious physical health issues.

The Divorcer

Though you are prepared, perhaps even bitter with your spouse, you must handle this situation delicately. Because of the impact the emotional stress this will have on the divorcee, it is your moral responsibility to treat them with as much respect, gentleness, and care as you can muster.

At least, that’s how the divorcee’s family will see it, even if you don’t. And they will take any retaliatory action they can against you if you give them any reason to. So, it’s best to give them as few of these reasons as possible and keep all relations involved pacified.

The Divorcee

If this has come as a shock then, more than anything else, you’re probably feeling very alone. You are not alone. And, furthermore, not being alone is the best thing you can do right now.

In other words, work closely with those who are there to help you. Join support groups, meet new people, stay social. There’s strength in numbers.

Financial Aspects of Getting a Divorce

Here are the financial aspects of a gray divorce you most need to consider.

The House

Having a house in retirement age opens your eligibility for tax exemptions, a reverse mortgage, and other possibilities for post-retirement income. As such, the house should go to whoever is most in need of such income.


When dividing a joint retirement requires extra-careful attention from you and your lawyer. It may also require a special court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

Be sure you and your lawyer discuss any changes in benefits or tax penalties and who’s responsible for any debt borrowed against your retirement fund.

Social Security

Social security belongs to each individual citizen. It is never a joint asset and is, therefore, not divided in a divorce.

However, if your marriage lasted at least ten years, and you’re over age 62, you can still collect benefits from your ex-spouse’s social security. This won’t affect their benefits whatsoever. You may also be eligible for survivor benefits in the event of their death.


Whether you are entitled to your former spouse’s pension is subject to investigation. You, your lawyer, and/or a mediator will need to obtain an official copy of the terms and conditions of the disputed pension.

It’s Expensive

Divorces are very expensive. It will likely cost each of you tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re absolutely decided that this divorce is necessary, don’t forget to calculate the cost.

How to Get Divorced Late in Life

Getting a divorce won’t be easy, but you can make it easier. Heed these words for a well-planned, conflict-free divorce.

For more divorce help, contact us to schedule a consultation.