Grey divorce – financial impact and considerations

Canada Life - Feb 08, 2024
Grey divorce is the trend of couples aged 50 and older divorcing, often after long marriages. Grey divorce may impact men and women differently.
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What is grey divorce?

If you and your spouse are over 50 and divorcing, you’re part of a growing trend called grey divorce. It’s when couples aged 50 and older divorce, often after a long marriage.

It may happen because you’re empty nesters who were staying together for the sake of your now grown children. Or one or both of you may have decided that with up to 40 years to live in retirement, you want something different. Other reasons could be falling out of love or simply growing apart from your spouse.

The financial impact of grey divorce

Whether it’s an opposite-sex or same-sex marriage, here are some of the financial considerations of grey divorce:

Division of property

This can be more complicated because after many years together, you’ve likely accumulated significant assets during your marriage and which may be intertwined.

Retirement planning

If you’re a gray divorcee, you’re likely much closer to retirement than other divorcees or retired. You may need to re-evaluate your retirement budget, goals and plans.

As well, if one spouse was the primary breadwinner and the other a homemaker, you may have made contributed unevenly to the Canada Pension Plan contributions. These contributions can be equally divided after a separation or divorce.

Estate planning

With divorce, you may wish to change the beneficiaries on life insurance policies and investments. You’ll also likely want to update your will.

In some instances, your grown children may have ideas of their own about where money should go. They may see their inheritances changing or may rely on you and your spouse for financial help.

The matrimonial home

This may be the single largest asset you own as a couple and you may own it outright by this time in your lives. Will it be sold so the proceeds can be split? Will one of you buy out the other? Where will each of you live? Will you buy something small or rent?


If you rely on your spouse for health insurance coverage, will you need personal health insurance? Do both of you need to update your life insurance to cover end-of-life costs and debt?

Why grey divorce may impact each spouse differently

After a grey divorce one spouse may face more financial challenges than the other.

This could be attributed to specific roles in their marriage. For example, one partner may have earned most of the money and made most of the financial decisions. After a divorce, this partner may have more experience managing money.

Because of this, it’s important you consult with your own financial advisor for help with your post-divorce financial planning. If you’re new to managing financial decisions, I’m ready to help.

What's next?

Now that you understand more about grey divorce, let’s set up a time to:

  • Create a post-divorce budget and retirement plan
  • Review your need for life insurance or personal health and dental insurance