What Is Gray Divorce?

What Is Gray Divorce?

The term gray divorce is used to refer to couples who divorce after 20, 30, and 40 years of marriage or more. Gray divorcees reference couples over 50.  Since the 1990’s the divorce rate for couples ages 50 and over has increased by 109%. [1]

Gray Divorce Statistics

According to 2015 data provided by Pew Research Center, for couples over 50, there were about 10 divorces for every 1,000 marriages in 2015, compared to only 5 divorces for every 1,000 marriages in 1990. Furthermore, the divorce rate has roughly tripled for persons age 65 or older. The divorce rate for couples over 40 years of age that have been married less than 10 years is 21 divorces for every 1,000 marriages. [2]

Gray Divorce and Alimony

Alimony, which the Arizona laws call as “spousal maintenance,” can be one of the more complicated issues in a “gray divorce.”  Spousal maintenance or alimony refers to financial support that is paid in legal currency to the financially “out” spouse.  You can receive alimony payments for many reasons but one the most significant reasons a court will grant alimony is if you have been married for a long time and can no longer work. For example, if you have been married for a long duration of time, over 20 years or more, that is one partial basis for alimony.  If you are at an age where it can prevent you from gaining employment that will make you self-sufficient, that can be enough for a court to grant your spousal maintenance.  However, according to A.R.S. § 25-319(B) [3], the amount of spousal maintenance you receive will depend on several factors which include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Living standards developed during the marriage;
  • How long the marriage lasted; and
  • The earning ability, employment history, and age of spouse that needs maintenance.

Gray Divorce and Social Security

You can receive half of your ex-spouse’s benefits if you’ve been married for 10 years or more and don’t remarry. You can even collect Social Security benefits if your ex-spouse waits to file. You can continue to receive benefits if your spouse gets remarried. However, if you were to get remarried, you can no longer claim social security benefits. [4] Rules for receiving social security benefits:

  • You must remain unmarried;
  • You have to be 62 years of age or older;
  • Your ex-partner must be entitled to receive Social Security disability or retirement benefits; and
  • The social security benefits you are eligible to receive for your own work is lower than the benefits you would receive for your ex-partners work.

Collaborative Divorce Is the Best Gray Divorce Option

Collaborative divorce can maintain a lot of peace in your life at what is typically viewed as a tough time to transition.  Collaborative divorce is an out of court process that is much like mediation, only you each have an attorney to advise you.  You also have the benefit of full transparency around finances, employment opportunities, and you’re both committed to a resolution.  Collaborative divorce is most helpful where there is conflict over a high stakes interest that is shared but hard to divide, and it requires continued cooperation.  About 92% of divorcing people qualify for this amazing out of court option.  Collaborative divorce does not require you to behave “collaboratively.”  You must commit to certain conduct to make the process work, but you and your spouse don’t have to be “collaborative.”  You do have to have attorneys and neutral experts who are trained to use the collaborative divorce process.  Collaborative divorce, also called collaborative law or collaborative process, can help you:

  1. Stay in control of your divorce
  2. Compromise about settlement issues
  3. Avoid stress
  4. Save time and money
  5. Get divorced much faster
  6. Avoid years of divorce litigation

Some law firms may make promises or aggressive postures in litigation, but what we often see is that those promises and postures aren’t reality.  They are sales techniques.  You can be as aggressive as you want to be, but your fate is up to a judge in those situations.  We know it is hard to maintain perspective as you enter a crisis in your life, particularly when you thought life was pretty settled.  We are unique because most lawyers are still learning what collaborative law is, and we offer collaborative law for gray divorcees.  We also offer a roster of reliable, independent but like-minded professionals who can represent your spouse in collaborative law.  Divorce is ultimately a financial transaction, but emotions cloud it.  Keeping a cool head may be too much to ask. You may have some real hurts and challenges, and you want to air those grievances.  Collaborative law allows you a chance to have what may be your first real conversation in years.  It also enables the two of you to create a uniform approach to telling your friends, your children, and your family members about your life change.  You’ll want to be able to attend events for your kids and grandkids without drama or forcing them to make tough choices.  You may lose each other as a spouse, but you can still be family.  I mean this – and I know many people who actually successfully maintain these relationships. 


  1. Cheng, Marguerita. “Grey Divorce: Its Reasons & Its Implications.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 26 Feb. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/margueritacheng/2019/02/26/grey-divorce-its-reasons-its-implications/#299c2afa4acd.
  2. Stepler, Renee, and Renee Stepler. “Divorce Rates up for Americans 50 and Older, Led by Baby Boomers.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 9 Mar. 2017, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/09/led-by-baby-boomers-divorce-rates-climb-for-americas-50-population/.
  3. 25-319 – Maintenance; Computation Factors, www.azleg.gov/ars/25/00319.htm.
  4. “Social Security.” Benefits Planner: Retirement | If You Are Divorced | Social Security Administration, www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html.

Collaborative Divorce Attorney in Scottsdale & Phoenix, Arizona

Moshier Law is your first choice for when you need the best collaborative divorce lawyer in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona. An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.

We can protect and advise you regarding: Divorce and property division, child custody, child support, legal guardianship & conservatorship, child visitation, marital home and real estate matters, allocation and valuation of investments, businesses, practices, retirement savings, pensions, personal possessions, valuables, vehicles, closely held businesses, alimony and spousal maintenance, and debt division. To find out how our divorce attorneys can help your matter, schedule your initial case evaluation today.

Divorce and Family Law

When a case demands litigation, you’ll have the benefit of 19 years of litigation experience in California and Arizona. But when a case demands collaborative law, or mediation, you’ll know every option.

Moshier Law services all of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Jennifer and her team of professionals seek to resolve Family Law cases efficiently with your goals in mind.

Call us today! 480-999-0800

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Jennifer Moshier Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Scottsdale Arizona
Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer


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Divorce and Family Law

When a case demands litigation, you’ll have the benefit of 19 years of litigation experience in California and Arizona. But when a case demands collaborative law, or mediation, we can meaningfully describe why collaborative law or mediation may or may not be your best option.

Moshier Law services all of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Jennifer and her team of professionals seek to resolve Family Law cases efficiently with your goals in mind.

Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

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