The term Gray Divorce relates to persons who were born between 1946 and 1971–the Baby Boomer Generation–those who are 50 or older and who are now considering divorce. A Gray Divorce is called that for obvious reasons—they are folks who are over 50 and who are literally or at least figuratively turning gray.
The whole idea of a Gray Divorce market is a surprise to some. Many people are shocked that this demographic, in fact, has a growing divorce rate.
Part of it is that people are living longer. They hit the age of 45 or 50; they have raised their kids; the kids are out of the house; and yet they look around and think, “Oh my God, I still have maybe 30 years left of my life, and I just don’t think I can live another 30 years with this person.”
What are the advantages of a Collaborative Divorce for someone in the Gray Divorce category?
Most of the people who are going through a Gray Divorce have grown children or are the age they could have grown children. They don’t have to worry about dealing with the custody of children and dealing with the division of the assets. In a Gray Divorce, the issues are generally limited to the division of the couples’ assets and liabilities. Often, people in this category are close to retiring or already retired. A Collaborative Divorce for this category of individuals can be significantly less expensive than a traditionally litigated divorce. A Collaborative Divorce can be more economical for those who are already on a limited budget, soon to be on a limited budget or are just trying to be prudent about their money lasting for the rest of their lives.
In addition to the cost-effectiveness of a Collaborative Divorce, this process also offers privacy that a traditionally litigated case cannot. Many people contemplating a Gray Divorce have deep roots in their community, are involved in their church, have mutual friendships and business associates that they have developed over the years. These folks do not want the general public to know about their private life—it should only be THEIR business. In a traditional divorce many aspects of the case, including hearings in Court, are open to everyone.
When you handle your divorce in the Collaborative Process, it is handled privately. There are methods that Collaborative Divorce practitioners often take that can limit even more of what the public can glean from the public records. No one else has to know about the details of your divorce unless you want them to know about it.
In a Collaborative Gray Divorce, do people ever set foot in the court?
In most divorces, one of the clients eventually does go to court but only to finalize the divorce, or what lawyers often call “the prove-up” of the divorce. That typically means that the decree which is signed by the parties is presented to the judge for his or her signature. A few questions are asked of one or both members of the couple to substantiate the elements that are required for a divorce in Texas, such as how long they have lived in Texas and in the county where the divorce is filed.
If the couple is really concerned about going to court—if they are afraid of running into someone they know, there are some courts that allow the divorce to be proved up by affidavit, so that no court appearance is ever needed. In addition, some counties allow parties to hire a retired judge to hear the prove-up outside the courthouse. So again, there are ways you never have to set foot in court if you handle your divorce through the Collaborative Divorce process.
In addition to the above, it is important to consider that although you’re divorcing your spouse and your children are grown (if you have children), the fact is that you are going to continue to have life events with your family, mutual friends, and children, where your ex-spouse may be present. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get through a divorce in such a way that you and your former spouse (and the others in attendance) can comfortably attend family or friends’ events such as graduations, weddings, baptisms, and even funerals? If your divorce is handled through the Collaborative Divorce process, the lawyers are specially trained to help enable you to continue to enjoy these life events with one another present. You and your friends and family deserve it.