“‘Til death do us part,” says the traditional wedding vows. However, we all know that it isn’t always that simple. More and more people are opting to get divorced at a mature age. In fact, of all of those who went through a divorce in 2009, 1 in 4 individuals was age 50 or older according to a paper written by two sociologists at Bowling Green State University.
While the logistics and mechanics of so-called “gray divorce” are legally similar to that of a younger couple, there are usually special factors, most of them money-related, that need to be considered.
First is the issue of alimony, sometimes called spousal support. Judges are, for multiple reasons, far more likely to grant alimony to the spouse whose current financial situation and earning potential is the weakest.
Another issue is the length time alimony payments must be made. While a younger worker whose spouse has career potential may only be ordered to pay alimony for a certain number of years, judges might grant lifetime alimony payments for senior citizens. This is something that should be carefully considered when contemplating divorce.
Likewise, there are often cases in which senior citizens may require long-term health care or other expensive medical treatment to combat a serious illness or permanent disability. People in this situation should also think carefully before filing for divorce, especially considering that courts can split the retirement money that was earned and saved during the marriage.
This is not to say that everything about getting a divorce as a senior is negative. There are many positive aspects as well—a newfound freedom being the first and foremost. The freedom to rediscover yourself, engage new people in friendship and live a happier life than you could while with your previous spouse. If, however, the time comes when you decide to remarry, be sure to seek legal counsel. The reality is that older people generally have more complex assets and estate plans already in place for their kids and grandkids.
Our office can assist you and your loved ones during these times of family transition.
We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you and your family.