Legal Issues Involved in Charlotte Divorce Over 50 (Gray Divorce)

While the overall divorce rate in the U.S. has dropped, gray divorce has increased in the last 20 years. Gray divorce refers to a divorce in which the individuals are age 50 and older. In the United States, the rate of gray divorce has doubled since 1990. Many baby boomers are ending their marriages, in some cases for the second or third time. As more people than ever experience gray divorce in Charlotte, North Carolina, it is important to consider the legal issues involved in gray divorce and to secure competent legal counsel to assist you.

Seeking Help for a Gray Divorce

Gray divorces can be particularly difficult for older Americans. Those who experience a gray divorce report higher levels of depression than those individuals whose spouses pass away. In addition to financial and emotional difficulties, those who go through a gray divorce face unique legal challenges. If you are in the process of getting a gray divorce in Charlotte, you will greatly benefit from hiring an experienced lawyer. Contact our law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.

Division of Property in a Gray Divorce in Charlotte

Many people assume that after a divorce, each spouse will receive half of the property. This is usually where the courts start in the analysis. However, North Carolina follows the legal principle of equitable distribution, which allows for unequal distributions so long as they are equitable. Courts analyze the following factors when dividing how to equitably divide property among divorcing couples:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The income and debt of each spouse
  • Any support obligations from earlier marriages
  • The ages of the spouses
  • The retirement benefits and whether or not they are separate property
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate or assets
  • Contributions made by one spouse to the other spouse’s education or career
  • Whether or not the property that will be divided is non-liquid or liquid
  • How challenging it will be to assess the couple’s business assets or interests
  • The tax liability for dividing up the assets
  • Whether either spouses or both spouses wasted or devalued marital assets
  • Any other factors that the court believes are just and proper for a fair division of the spouses’ assets
Crafting a Fair Gray Divorce Settlement or Separation Agreement

Couples who are undergoing a gray divorce can agree to a separation agreement. Couples who agree on a separation agreement can ask the court to incorporate their separation agreement into their divorce. However, you should discuss with your attorney the benefits and downsides to incorporating a separation agreement into a court order.

A separation agreement is a legally valid agreement that both spouses consent to during the divorce process. One of the benefits of creating a divorce settlement is avoiding a trial associated with the divorce. You and your spouse can each hire an attorney who will help you negotiate and write a settlement agreement that you both believe is fair.

Separation agreements can be the cheapest and best option for a couple going through a gray divorce. You will spend less time and money engaged in a legal battle over the divorce. It is also possible to address some issues in a separation agreement and address any issues that the couple cannot agree upon through divorce litigation. It is not always possible to agree to a separation agreement, however. Sometimes, your spouse will not agree to terms that are fair to you and you will need to proceed to litigation.

The Timeline for a Gray Divorce

You may have decided that it is time to get a divorce. Many people think that they can start the process immediately. In North Carolina, however, you will need to be separated from your spouse for a year, in order to complete the status change from separated to divorced. However, you can resolve issues involving children and financial issues before your separation or during the one-year separation period. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we can help you walk through the divorce process and potential timelines.

Contact Our Gray Divorce Lawyers

It takes time to finalize a gray divorce, but the best time to begin the process is now. People who are over the age of 50 often have more complicated financial situations. They are in retirement or close to retirement. As an older American, the way that the court will divide their retirement assets will greatly affect how well they can provide for themselves.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand the unique challenges that older individuals face when going through a gray divorce. Contact our skilled Charlotte divorce lawyers as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation and learn how we can fight for your interests during the divorce process.