Your long-term marriage has made it through children, careers and all life has thrown at you and your spouse. But forget “until death do you part.” You’re headed for divorce. And it’s happening near or during your retirement, those so-called “golden years.” Sadly, you’re not alone.
The divorce rate among those 50 and older doubled during the two decades from 1990 to 2010, wrote sociologists at Bowling Green University, who published their study findings in 2012. In fact, about one of every four divorces in the United States in 2010 involved a person 50 years old or older. Further, the divorce rate for remarriages was 2.5 times higher than those in first marriages.
The kids have grown and are on their own. Mom and Dad have grown apart. Now the spark has gone. Technology and Internet dating create enticing scenarios. Any number of reasons can lead seniors to these “gray divorces.”
Here are some things to consider if you are eyeing a senior divorce:
Your savings and retirement money likely will be cut in half. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning no blame is cast. The assets probably will be split evenly. So if you have a pension or more in retirement savings than your spouse, be prepared to take a hit.
Plan on alimony. When younger couples split, alimony helps temporarily support a spouse trying to re-establish his or her financial footing. But when a longtime marriage ends, the courts likely will grant alimony for life.
Break your ties to the house. One or both of you may be emotionally attached to the family home that may hold so many memories. Start viewing the house for what it is: an asset, one that can be split. If you consider staying in the house, understand your new financial situation could make you “house-poor” because of utilities, taxes and routine maintenance. It might make sense to start over in smaller accommodations.
Moving Forward After A Senior Divorce
The children still matter in some cases. Child support and visitation aren’t usually on the table in senior divorces. However, something is likely to be included in the divorce agreement if there is grown child with special needs or a disability.
Wait until the divorce is final to date again. The newfound freedom is enticing but jumping right into a new relationship could cause a rift with the ex-spouse and the children. That, in turn, could cause the divorce proceeding to swerve off track. Sure, join new groups, make new friends and socialize, but take caution.
Get a prenuptial agreement if you remarry. Statistics show remarriages end in divorce at an even higher rate. Protect yourself and your family by consulting a lawyer and a financial advisor. Review your will as well.
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