Gray divorce: Special considerations for late-life divorce

Gray divorce: Special considerations for late-life divorce

Divorce at any age can be difficult and may be especially painful if you’ve been with your spouse for many years. On the other hand, late-life divorce is a chance to pursue opportunities you’ve had to put aside.

No matter your plan for the future, there are special considerations when you divorce later in life.


Because Arizona does not have a formula to determine alimony, there are many factors, including whether you were married a long time or whether one of you has greater earning ability than the other.

“While Maricopa County had a formula at one time, the court ultimately rescinded its use since judges were not required to follow it,” according to local law firm DeShon Laraye Pullen. “Instead, courts will look at a number of factors to determine the amount of alimony payments and how long those payments should continue.”

Other factors that could affect late-life divorce include the following:

  • The standard of living during your marriage.
  • The amount one spouse’s reduced income helped support the other spouse’s career.
  • Each spouse’s ability to meet individual needs without help.
  • Excessive spending or fraudulent use of shared resources.
  • The cost of health insurance for each spouse.

Health insurance

No matter your health concerns, it’s essential to consider insurance for future doctor visits, medication, and more.

“As soon as you know your marriage is ending, take steps to keep your existing health coverage in place and look for replacement coverage,” according to legal information site Nolo.

Individual plans have many options, according to Nolo:

  • Low-cost plans with limited options or expensive plans with more coverage.
  • Plans with no deductibles, co-pays, nor waiting periods.
  • Extra insurance for coverage like dental, prescription, and vision.
  • Catastrophic plans
  • Plans with limited coverage for those with preexisting conditions.

Depending on your income and age, you may qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.


As you gather information about retirement plans, research distributions you can receive without tax penalties, whether you or your spouse need to repay any loans to a plan, and what contributions you’re entitled to after the divorce.

“Dividing retirement plans can be complicated, and requires careful attention when your lawyer is preparing the final paperwork for your divorce,” according to Nolo.

As for Social Security, you can collect on your spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 and were married 10 years or more. Consulting with an expert will help you determine the best path.

“Will one spouse draw off the other’s Social Security, or would he or she be better off drawing on their own Social Security benefits?” according to Woman’s Divorce. “These are answers you need before finalizing a financial settlement.”

Your house

Arizona is a community property state, which means property will generally be divided equally.

“If one spouse wants to keep more property or assets, such as one spouse keeping the family home, that person will generally have to compensate the other spouse, so the division represents a 50/50 split,” according to DeShon Laraye Pullen.

Before deciding, consider whether keeping the house will give you tax deductions, like mortgage interest, and whether you are eligible for certain real estate property tax exemptions and waivers for your age, according to Nolo. You may also want to use the house as rental income or access the equity later.

If you are going through a late-life divorce, the expert attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen can help. Visit for more information and to schedule a consultation.

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