For many reasons, more couples are divorcing later in life. Divorce over age 50—sometimes called “gray divorce”—poses some added challenges couples need to consider before making decisions.
Couples divorcing closer to retirement age have less time to rebuild savings after the divorce. It costs more to establish two separate households, so divorcing couples usually find their finances strained at least for a while. The financial challenges can be harder to manage when you are approaching retirement.
It is important to review finances honestly and develop a plan. Your plan might involve working longer or finding a higher-paying job for a few years. If you haven’t been working, your plan might include re-entering the workforce for a time.
Valuing and dividing retirement plans also poses some difficulties. Your attorney may need to have a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO)drawn up to enable one spouse to receive payments directly from another spouse’s plan administrators. Or you might allocate different assets in place of retirement assets. If you have taken out any loans against a 401(k) plan, those loans will need to be repaid.
Responsibilities Toward Children
Gray divorce often does not involve young children, custody issues, or child support. However, issues involving older children may still require as much considered attention.
For instance, responsibilities for college payments or debts may need to be clarified and allocated. Does a child have an expectation that one or both parents will be paying for a wedding or contributing to the down payment on a house? Addressing these issues now can allow your divorce attorney to negotiate a fair agreement that prevents ugly conflicts in the future.
Couples divorcing later in life also need to be prepared for the emotional fallout. These divorces often take adult children by surprise and they may need reassurance. It is also important to update estate plans after the divorce to protect your children’s interests.
As part of the planning process, couples divorcing over 50 need to factor in certain additional expenses. If one spouse is covered by health insurance provided by the other spouse’s employer, they could face significant costs trying to replicate coverage on their own. If either spouse has health issues that are likely to lead to high medical bills or impact the ability to work, that should be factored into the equation.
When deciding whether to keep the family home or vehicles, it is essential to consider the cost of upkeep. Separate households and incomes can raise tax liabilities as well. Overall, it is a good idea to work with an attorney who understands the challenges of gray divorce so that you can develop a plan to cover future needs.
Get the Right Assistance for Gray Divorce
In addition to the special challenges for couples divorcing over 50, you also need to work with an attorney who is prepared to uphold your interests concerning traditional divorce challenges, such as protecting your separate property.
At Tessie D. Edwards & Associates, P.C., we believe our clients deserve an ally willing to fight for the best future opportunities. We will help you develop a realistic plan while striving to achieve your objectives in every aspect of the divorce. To talk to us about the ways we can protect you in gray divorce, contact us today for a confidential consultation.