Gray Divorce Isn’t So Gray!

vesta philly hub

An article prepared by Vesta’s Philadelphia PA Hub Professionals

Are you over 50 and contemplating divorce? Are friends and family telling you “it’s too late”, or “just tough it out?” Do you wonder what divorce looks like after a long marriage, having saved for the future with someone who is no longer the one with whom you will ride into the sunset?

We get it, it’s a big step. Some of us have been through it; all of us have helped others through it. So, here’s the scoop on divorcing when older. You have decades of life experience under your belt and, very likely, a deeper understanding of who you are and what you want and need. You’ve likely faced successes and challenges, and learned from both. People are living longer and better, and starting over is full of opportunities to realize goals and dreams that went unmet in your marriage. So, whether the decision to end the marriage is yours, your partner’s, or mutual, you’re going to be ok!

That said, later in life, or “Gray”, divorce brings a special set of challenges to the divorce industry and those it serves. Spousal support, alimony, social security, and multi-decade marital estates resulting from long marriages might be complex. Deciding who keeps the marital home – often among a couple’s largest assets – or whether it must be sold to support two new residences, must be determined. Being a suddenly single parent – possibly to adult children – brings a litany of social and emotional challenges. And, divorce can seem scary just as anything you’ve never done before.

Happily, later in life divorce brings a second chance and the opportunity for personal growth. And, how you divorce will inform the way in which you enjoy the road ahead which truly has endless possibilities.

It might be complicated, but the right professionals can help you sort this out! Marital assets, including retirement accounts and homes, will now have to support two adults living separately, not one couple under one roof. Perhaps there are business entanglements and multiple properties. And, while issues like “parenting time” and who pays for college might be winding down or off the table for older adults, there are fewer years left to earn or “start over”. If you are divorcing after a long marriage, it’s more important than ever to get strong legal, financial, and emotional support.
With careful planning and an open mind, it is never too late to end a marriage that is no longer working. Who you engage to support you through your divorce can make all the difference. Vesta’s Philly Hub recommends that you keep the following in mind as you assemble your team:

  • Choose a matrimonial attorney experienced in working with older couples. Make sure he or she has a good understanding of complex marital estates and retirement benefits, and a practical, no-nonsense approach to divorce; it is best not to squander valuable funds on your divorce.
  • Involve a Financial Consultant specializing in divorce. This is the person who will help you gather and organize your financial information, explain how asset division – including retirement accounts – work, help you understand your financial position, and guide you in creating a new, post-divorce financial plan.
  • Consult with a Divorce Lending Professional who can help you understand your post-divorce finances, credit, and debt. This person can help you explore all sources of income, take stock of your credit and debt, and make an informed choice about what to do with the marital home.
  • Get appropriate support. It truly takes a village to get divorced, and a Divorce Coach can help you get organized, separate your emotions from the “business” of divorce, and be your thinking partner as you make decisions during and after your divorce.

Vesta’s Philadelphia Suburbs Hub is here to help with all of this:

 – Alison Pettine Hecker, ChFC, CLF Financial Advisor (

 – Cynthia Weiss Stein, Esq., Family Law Attorney (

 – Michael Schreiber, CDLP, Mortgage Advisor (

 – Michelle Fisher, MSW, CDC Certified Divorce Coach®, CDC Divorce Transition and Recovery Coach® (

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