There are any number of issues that can arise in a marriage that create unresolvable tension between spouses. A spouse may decide to file for divorce in a New Jersey court rather than stay in an unhappy relationship, even if the marriage has lasted 20 to 30 years or more. The term “gray divorce” refers to spouses who file such petitions when they are age 55 or older.
Gray divorce may have unique implications
When raising a family, married couples often overlook their differences in order to maintain a sense of stability in their children’s lives. As a spouse gets older and children leave home to enter adult life on their own, he or she might decide to file for divorce. It is important for a parent to try to mitigate the negative effect such a decision might have on an adult child, especially if he or she feels caught in the middle and is unsure how to act.
Litigation often sparks an adversarial process
Divorcing later in life often means that parents must resolve issues regarding an estate plan, retirement benefits, inheritance, trusts or other financial issues that may have a significant impact on their adult children’s lives. If a set of parents becomes entangled in a lengthy legal battle, it may intensify the grief that an adult child already feels at the loss of his or her parents’ marriage. For this reason, it is most helpful to adult children when parents do their best to achieve a fair settlement.
Reaching out for additional support if problems arise
The experience a young couple has when filing for divorce might differ from that of an older couple, particularly because the older couple has likely been together longer, acquired more assets and has adult-aged children. Finding a support group for people who have filed for divorce later in life may help spouses and adult children cope and adapt to the changes in their lives. If a specific problem has to do with a legal issue, it may be helpful to request a meeting with an experienced family law attorney who can recommend a best course of action and strategies for avoiding contention in court.