Divorce Issues to Consider if You Are Over 50
Today, the divorce rate for individuals over the age of 65 is three times what it was in 1990. There are many different factors that contributed to this rise in “gray divorces,” such as Americans living longer and a reduced social stigma around divorce.
Couples who divorce at later stages in their lives have very different needs and considerations to make than younger couples. One big difference between these divorces and divorces among couples in their 20s, 30s, and 40s is that usually, couples over 50 no longer have minor children and thus, do not need to develop parenting plans or create child support orders. This does not mean their divorces are any less complicated than divorces between parents of young children, just that they are different. Below are a few important issues that older divorcing couples face.
Your Retirement Plans
Your retirement accounts are marital property, which means they are subject to equitable distribution in your divorce. The court will likely divide your retirement accounts through a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), which ensures that an alternate payee, the spouse whose name is not on the account, receives his or her fair share of its contents.
Changing Your Estate Plans
You will need to alter your estate plans not only because your spouse will no longer be your primary beneficiary, but because you will now have a much smaller estate to plan for. After your divorce, work with an experienced estate planner to change all your estate documents so your assets go to the beneficiaries you want them to go to, rather than to your former spouse.
Dismantling a Complex Marital Asset Pool
If you are divorcing over 50, chances are you have accumulated a fairly complex marital estate. And your marital estate will have to be divided appropriately, which can be difficult when it involves real estate, personal assets, investment portfolios, savings, and other types of assets like business interests. Determining your assets’ current and projected values can require you to work with appraisers and financial advisors.
Considering Your Health and Long-Term Needs
At an advanced age, it is important to plan for your continuing health needs. Have frank discussions with your spouse about health insurance, planning for long-term care, and the need for a healthcare surrogate in the years after you divorce.
Social Security Benefits
If you or your spouse are entitled to Social Security benefits, this will factor into your divorce settlement. After you divorce, the spouse who did not participate in the workforce is entitled to receive benefits equal to up to 50 percent of the working spouse’s benefits as long as he or she is 62 years old or older and the marriage lasted at least 10 years.
Work with an Experienced Kane County Divorce Lawyer
At every age and stage of your life, your needs change. Divorcing at 55 is considerably different from divorcing at 35, and it is important that you work with an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer who recognizes these differences and can craft an effective strategy based on your individual needs. Call our team at Shaw Family Law, P.C. at 630-584-5550 today to schedule your initial consultation in our office.