Legal Professionals of Hirsch & Ehlenberger

What are the considerations for spousal support in gray divorces?

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | Divorce

Most, if not all, married couples dream of growing old together with their spouse. However, even with their long years together, older couples could still experience turmoil in their marriage that could lead to separation. Gray divorce, or the separation of married couples over 50, could be challenging, especially when it involves significant wealth.

Couples in long-term marriages could have generated substantial assets accumulated over the years, such as real estate, investments, retirement savings and business shares. Dividing these properties during the divorce often brings disagreements between the couple. Moreover, having substantial wealth could bring high expectations for spousal support, especially when one spouse is financially dependent on the other.

Factors affecting spousal support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is financial support provided to one spouse by the other. The court decides on this case-by-case, hoping to stabilize both parties financially after the divorce. There are no specific guidelines on how the court determines spousal support, but here are five factors that could influence their decision:

  • Marriage duration: This could influence the duration and amount of spousal support. Longer marriages could result in more substantial spousal support.
  • Marriage contributions: The court could consider homemaking, childcare and other non-financial contributions to determine alimony.
  • Earning capabilities: As older couples are not expected to work, the court could consider their retirement for alimony. The spouse with more earnings might need to provide spousal support.
  • Spouse’s health conditions: When one spouse is older or has medical conditions, they could receive greater spousal support.
  • Lifestyle standards: The court could consider the standard of living established during the marriage to determine the amount of alimony so that both parties could retain a similar lifestyle.

Similar to property division, the assets and debts of both parties are also considered when determining spousal support.

Gray divorces could have extreme emotional, financial and legal implications for both parties and their families. Given the complexities of gray divorce with substantial wealth, seeking guidance and support from legal professionals is essential. Family lawyers experienced in high-asset divorce could provide tailor-fit strategies that would ensure the fairness and equitability of spousal support arrangements.


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