A Financial Guide to Gray Divorce

Older women deal with many of the same issues as their younger counterparts but face additional challenges, some unexpected during a gray divorce.

Woman looking upset
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even though a later-in-life divorce can be potentially devastating financially, it’s often women who initiate the process. “They may have stayed in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children,” says Lisa Zeiderman, managing partner at the law firm Miller Zeiderman, in New York City. “Now that the children are off to college or grown, they feel it’s time to move on with their lives.”

Sometimes the breaking-up point comes when both spouses retire and “sparks start to fly,” says Kimberly Foss, a partner with Mercer Global Advisors in Roseville, Calif. Leslie Thompson, cofounder of Spectrum Wealth Management in Indianapolis, says financial control is often a factor for women “who don’t want to be judged on how they manage their money.” 

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Janet Bodnar

Janet Bodnar is editor-at-large of Kiplinger's Personal Finance, a position she assumed after retiring as editor of the magazine after eight years at the helm. She is a nationally recognized expert on the subjects of women and money, children's and family finances, and financial literacy. She is the author of two books, Money Smart Women and Raising Money Smart Kids. As editor-at-large, she writes two popular columns for Kiplinger, "Money Smart Women" and "Living in Retirement." Bodnar is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and is a member of its Board of Trustees. She received her master's degree from Columbia University, where she was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism.