You’re not alone if you have decided to divorce after age 50. In fact, the “grey divorce” trend is growing. The National Center for Family & Marriage Research found that the divorce rate among adults over age 50 doubled between 1990 and 2014, and the number tripled for those over 65.
Why do many couples divorce later in life? An empty nest might be a big contributing factor. Raising children, working, and saving money can keep spouses together for years. However, once the kids are on their own and the spouses are looking toward retirement, they may realize they have drifted apart as a couple. If they do decide to dissolve their marriage, spouses over 50 might have a few additional hurdles to overcome.
Challenges of Divorce After Age 50
Custody and child support are usually no longer a factor in divorces involving couples over 50. But other unique challenges arise, including retirement savings and home equity.
For example, a couple over age 50 might find that their home is one of their biggest marital assets. As a result, they might have a difficult time deciding how to divide the house in the divorce agreement.
Retirement savings including pension plans, 401(k) accounts, and IRAs are usually substantial by age 50. If one spouse acquired and/or contributed to a retirement account during the marriage, the law will consider those accounts to be marital property. Equitable distribution states like Pennsylvania and New Jersey require spouses to fairly divide all marital property, regardless of who contributed to the savings.
The court may also order one spouse to pay alimony to the other. This is especially common when one spouse did not work during some or all of the marriage. Courts may also grant spousal support if one partner has significant medical issues and/or medical bills.
Having a Successful Future Post-Divorce
A article published in CNBC suggests a few tips for planning for a successful financial future if you plan to divorce after age 50:
- First, decide if you can live off your savings after divorce. Will your divided assets, retirement funds, and income allow you to sustain your lifestyle?
- If you’re coming up short financially, consider selling property that has some of your wealth tied up.
- If the divorce agreement permits you to do so, amend the named beneficiary on your retirement accounts.
- Educate yourself on the basics of financial planning if you were not the spouse who handled it during marriage.
No matter your age, a successful divorce is possible with the right legal support. If you have decided to dissolve your marriage, we can help. Feel free to contact our law firm to schedule a consultation.