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What Is Considered a Gray Divorce in NJ?

Stressed senior man worrying about divorce

What Is Considered a Gray Divorce in NJ?

If you’ve looked into divorce, you might have come across the term “gray divorce.” Does the term hold any legal weight? What does it actually mean? Are there special legal processes or procedures for gray divorces? Read on to learn about gray divorces and why they require trustworthy legal advice and representation from a seasoned New Jersey divorce attorney.

What Is a Gray Divorce?

“Gray divorce” is not a term you’ll find in any statute. It’s a colloquial term used to describe a divorce involving couples over the age of 50. The concept is relevant, however, because divorces involving older couples tend to involve issues different from those in divorces between young spouses.

Many of the issues that arise in gray divorce are more complex than those in younger divorces, requiring the services of an experienced New Jersey family law attorney to analyze and act on. If you’re over the age of 50 and considering divorce, or if you know of friends or family members who are facing the prospect of a gray divorce, make sure they hire a divorce lawyer who understands the issues specific to gray divorces.

What Issues Are Important for Gray Divorces?

Gray divorces cover the same broad legal issues as younger divorces: division of property, support obligations, etc. In practice, however, the matters are often very different.

To start, child custody and child support are rarely at issue in gray divorces. By the time a couple has reached their 50s and beyond, any shared children are likely adults with independent means and lives of their own.

Alimony can be more complex in a gray divorce. There are many different types of alimony in New Jersey–pendente lite alimony (alimony during divorce proceeding), rehabilitative alimony (alimony to allow the recipient spouse to become self-supporting), reimbursement alimony (alimony to repay a spouse for contributions to advanced degrees and training), etc. In New Jersey, alimony is usually meant to be temporary, either to pay back a dependent spouse for their contributions or to cover their costs until they can support themselves. Permanent alimony is rare.

In a gray divorce, however, permanent or “open duration” alimony is much more likely to be on the table. Permanent alimony is only available in New Jersey when the couple has been married for a long time, at least 20 years. An award of permanent alimony still must be based on a complete analysis of relevant factors, including the earning capacity of each party and the length of absence from the job market of the party seeking support.

Gray divorces also often involve more complex property division issues. One or both parties may have retirement accounts or pension plans, which might even have begun distributing, as well as social security and other government benefits. Insurance coverage can be vital. The parties may share ownership stakes in one or more businesses. There may be questions as to the inheritance due to the couple’s children, or whether one party must pay for the college education of their children. It’s important to consider all these matters and more before commencing with a gray divorce.

Get Experienced Legal Help for Your New Jersey Gray Divorce

If you have questions about the issues specific to a gray divorce, or if you are dealing with child custody, child support, divorce, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Law Office of John B. D’Alessandro in Union to discuss your concerns. From temporary orders for child support while your divorce case is underway to final orders or post-divorce modification motions, our experienced and dedicated family law attorney is here to advise and represent you.

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