4 Reasons to Use Collaborative Law in Gray Divorce

When action star Hugh Jackman and his wife of 27 years, Deborra-Lee Furness, announced their divorce in late 2023, many inside and outside of Hollywood were shocked. But the famous couple illustrate a growing trend over the past few decades—the gray divorce.

“Gray divorce” refers to couples over age 50 who split. Jackman (55) and Furness (68) have plenty of company. One study found that the number of gray divorces in the U.S. more than doubled from 1990 to 2010. Another discovered that the divorce rate among those 65+ has tripled over a similar period.  

Couples who have been married for decades often have children and grandchildren to think about when they break up. They know they will continue to be involved in each others’ lives post-breakup and want to preserve their family stability and goodwill as much as possible. Using collaborative divorce can meet those goals.

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is an amicable divorce process that lets the parties avoid going to court to reach an agreement. Instead, the divorcing couple settle their differences directly, using their lawyers and the services of a mental health and/or financial professional. Collaborative law prioritizes reaching a settlement agreeable to both parties while saving them the expense and potential trauma of appearing in court.

Advantages of Using Collaborative Law for Gray Divorces

Here are four reasons to consider using collaborative law if you are over 50 and seeking a divorce.

1. Collaborative Law Is an Amicable Process

Many couples getting divorced after age 50 want to avoid creating an adversarial relationship. Having older children and grandchildren means former couples will still see each other at family gatherings, such as graduations, weddings and birthdays.

A collaborative divorce can help avoid turning ex-spouses into adversaries who hijack holidays with their lingering hostility. When both parties use lawyers and mental health and financial professionals, they can reach a balanced settlement and avoid the confrontational nature of a mediator or courtroom.

2. Collaborative Law Speeds up Divorce Proceedings

Collaborative divorces spark faster settlements. You work around your own schedules instead of courtroom availability. Older adults benefit from this, as they are often eager to start the next chapter of their lives.

3. Collaborative Law Accounts for Mature Finances

Gray divorces include different financial stakes than when younger people split up, and collaborative divorces account for that. Your finances may have been bundled together for decades, and you may have accrued more debt than a younger couple. Involving a financial specialist, which is part of the collaborative divorce process, assists older couples with more complex financial situations.

4. Collaborative Law Is Ideal for Retirement Considerations

Finally, gray divorces also involve retirement considerations. Accounts may be divided differently depending on type, such as a Roth or 401(k). Social Security benefits can also prompt complex questions, especially for couples where one spouse stayed home to take care of the children, which is more common in gray divorce situations.

Collaborative divorce takes this all into account when reaching a settlement. Attorneys can be more creative and flexible when they avoid litigation.

Contact Us Today to Discuss Collaborative Divorce

If you are over 50 and getting divorced, we can help. The professionals at Collaborative Professionals of Central Pennsylvania have training in collaborative law as well as mental health and financial expertise. We can aid you in a collaborative divorce. Browse our Professional Directory and connect with one of us today.