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Unique Issues in Gray Divorces


Many people think that once a marriage has lasted for several decades, it will last forever. Unfortunately, this is not true and divorces among older people are on the rise in Pennsylvania, and throughout the rest of the country. These situations are often referred to as gray divorces, and while they involve many of the same terms as divorces among younger couples, they also have some unique issues. If you are considering a gray divorce, you need to know the distinct issues you may face, so you can be prepared for the process.


Alimony is almost always a part of a gray divorce, but it is much more complex than determining alimony among younger couples. A judge will take many factors into consideration when determining alimony, including the length of the marriage.

Among other factors, the judge will consider salary, bonuses, travel perks, executive compensation packages, and more. All of these benefits are also taken into consideration when decisions are made about alimony, as they are all part of the payer’s total compensation, so calculating alimony is much more difficult.

Separate Property vs. Marital Property

During a couple’s life together, they will accumulate a number of assets, as well as liabilities. Much of this property becomes commingled when two people are together for a very long time, so it is more difficult to differentiate between separate property and marital property. Inheritances, for example, are typically exempt from property division hearings. They are usually considered separate property, belonging to the person it was given to. However, if the person that received the inheritance placed it into a joint bank account they held with their spouse, or titles the asset in joint names, an inheritance may be considered marital property.

Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are often one of the largest assets that must be divided during a gray divorce. Just like alimony, determining how much is subject to property division is complicated. Any retirement savings a person earned prior to marriage is considered separate property, but anything contributed to these savings during the marriage is considered marital property. After a long marriage, it becomes much more challenging to determine how much was placed into the retirement account before and after marriage. It is also critical to determine how much interest has accrued within the account after the marriage, as those savings are also subject to property division hearings. Generally, a professional evaluator is hired to determine the marital portion of a retirement account.

Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey Family Lawyer Can Help with Your Gray Divorce

All divorces have issues that have the potential to become complex, but this is particularly true in gray divorces. At the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane, our Philadelphia family lawyer can help. Attorney Kane knows the challenges that arise in gray divorces, and how to overcome them to secure the best settlement possible for you. Call us today at (215) 918-9453 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help with your case.

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