The divorce of a couple in their 20s can seem complicated if they have to deal with child custody and child support, spousal support and property division, whether in Colorado or elsewhere in the country. For divorcing couples in their 50s and older, however, divorce can be much tougher if they have amassed property and assets over two or three decades and are nearing retirement age.

According to experts, this so-called gray divorce can take a much harder toll on people 50 and older because they often have a difficult time recovering financially. This phenomenon primarily concerns baby boomers; according to a 2013 study released by the National Center for Marriage and Family Research, they made up 25 percent of those who filed for divorce in 2010. The study, "The Gray Divorce Revolution: Rising Divorce among Middle-Aged and Older Adults, 1990-2010," emphasizes that more older couples now are calling it quits despite years of marriage. The researchers analyzed different factors behind the growing number of these divorces and believe that many older adults have embraced divorce as a way out of unhappy marriages because of people they know that have experienced it.

Property division in gray divorce means dealing with broader financial issues such as real estate holdings, business assets, division of retirement funds and debt. This can be especially challenging to dependent spouses, particularly women. Unlike marriages in which both spouses work, a nonworking spouse is less financially stable than the partner who remains in the workforce.

The study emphasizes other topics that couples should address such as retirement benefits, Social Security benefits and alimony. Divorcing later in life means less time to financially recover or achieve stability. However, if finances and property division are addressed, a spouse may be able to meet the financial challenges that come with life after divorce.

Source:, "The Gray Divorce Resolution: Rising Divorce among Middle-aged and Older Adults, 1990-2010," accessed on Jan. 12, 2015