Grandkids and divorce conversations: the realities of grey divorce

Grandmother with granddaughter

Here’s a conversation many Boomers (the generation born between 1946 and 1964) never thought they would have: sitting down over glasses of wine and milk with their grandkids to explain that Grandma and Grandpa won’t be living together any more. “But who will get the toys?” might be the next question from the curious little ones.

In a way, that is what any client facing grey divorce wants to know. Except in their case, the “toys” are a lifetime’s worth of accumulated assets and shared possessions. Untangling them takes experience, expertise and patience.

There are three sets of special circumstances in a grey divorce: money, health insurance and family. Although those factors are present when a couple of any age goes through a divorce, their intensity and impact shift as a couple matures.

  • An older couple would have typically accumulated more assets than a couple in their thirties. Boomers must consider real estate, pensions, and 401k savings. They must also face the reality that a divorce means a hit to their joint financial situation late in life with fewer working years to patch up the damage.
  • Health insurance is critical because as people age they tend to have more medical issues. The goal for any “grey divorce” client that I work with is “not a single day without medical coverage”.
  • Late-in-life divorce sends aftershocks through the extended family, affecting kids, grandkids, in-laws and family friends. It is critical to manage communications, set boundaries and focus on the relationships you want to nurture through this difficult time. After all, you will be seeing each other at graduations, weddings, funerals, and family holidays for years to come after the divorce papers are signed.

Because each of the three factors increases in importance as the couple ages, I have found that collaborative divorce can offer a path for managing the separation without burning the bridges and destroying the financial foundation that the couple has built over the years. A collaborative process offers an alternative with greater privacy, more control over the final outcomes and an opportunity to retain a civil relationship. For couples facing grey divorce, those factors matter. Brazos Valley Collaborative Divorce Alliance is there to help you choose the right professionals to support you though the process.

 

About Randy Michel

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