Grey Divorce: What You Need to Know

XPYRIA Team Insights

Grey Divorce: What You Need to Know

Karen Fadzen, CFP®, CDFA™, CAS® XPYRIA Team Insights

What is it?     

“Grey Divorce” aka “Silver Splitter Divorce” refers to the demographic trend involving spouses over the age of 50, typically “baby boomers”, getting divorced. Since 1990, the rate has doubled for people over 50 and tripled for people over 65.

Why is it happening? 

The social stigma associated with divorce has diminished. Two-thirds of baby boomers say that they would prefer divorce over an unhappy marriage. Common reasons:

  • Emotional disconnection after 20+ years of marriage
  • “Empty nest syndrome” kids leaving home
  • Retirement – realize you’ve grown apart
  • Increased life expectancy. What’s next? Unfulfilled bucket lists
  • Differences over financial priorities and money management
  • In search of more energetic partners
  • Infidelities, addictions

What are the unique challenges?

  • Lifestyle preservation when 2 households have to survive on the same dollars, formerly supporting one household, with few or no future earning years
  • Family issues – aging parents, financing adult children’s education
  • Fears of being alone. “Who will care for me?”
  • Healthcare/Medicare coverage – Best options for age-related health concerns
  • Social security benefits – amount and timing


Why hire a financial adviser certified in financial planning and divorce?

The CFP® certification is recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning. CFPs® have the education and experience to help clients understand how the decisions they make today affect their long-term financial security.

CDFAs® are Certified Divorce Financial Analysts who are specifically trained in the financial aspects of divorce through the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.

  • Financial Expertise & Strategy provides realistic expectations for life after divorce
  • Reduce the amount of apprehension and misunderstanding about the divorce process
  • Empower spouse(s) to make informed decisions
  • Save time and money.

Divorce Planning Process with a CFP® / CDFA®:

  • Work with spouse(s) to understand financial issues and interests
  • Gather all relevant financial documents
  • Identify all assets and liabilities to be shared/distributed, provide guidance on values and tax-affect assets so that spouse(s) can compare apples to apples
  • Work with spouse(s) to review current household cash flow, develop post-divorce spending plans and determine if income sharing is needed for child support and/or the dependent spouse
  • Provide relevant information about Social Security, Medicare, credit, tax, estate & insurance planning considerations unique to older adults and divorce
  • Illustrate the long-term financial implications of settlement options and tradeoffs 
  • Assistance with assessing the best divorce process options i.e. litigation versus “alternative dispute resolution” options like cooperative negotiations, collaborative or mediation

About the Author

Karen Fadzen, CFP®, CDFA™, CAS®

Senior Client Advisor
Ms. Fadzen has knowledge and experience in comprehensive financial planning that integrates global investment management, legal, tax, insurance, and family dynamics. She enjoys helping clients organize their financial lives so that they understand their financial situations and the financial decisions that need to be made. This has led to specialization in divorce financial planning and helping women and families in transition. Ms. Fadzen's role as a divorce financial planner helps couples identify and quantify key financial elements that need to be settled.  Facilitating communication and financial transparency between spouses ultimately saves money and drama and enables them to move forward with their lives.  She is trained in the Collaborative Divorce Process and is a member of the Collaborative Law Association of SW PA.  Ms. Fadzen is dedicated to improving financial literacy through informational presentations to clients, their families, and related organizations upon request.