Most people assume that divorce typically involves middle-aged couples. It is high time to give people a more varied and different picture of a divorce, particularly grey divorce. Couples who are over the age of fifty-five (55) are people whose divorce is called a “grey” or “golden” years divorce. People in this stage of life are typically spending less time at work and are less likely to have children under the age of 18. This makes them more focused on the issue of having a solid and comfortable financial condition and retirement after a divorce.
Planning for Your Finances and Security
There are many stories about people who are not yet ready for retirement but because of health and other emergency reasons are forced to retire. The result is that they had to make ends meet by stretching what resources they have and save as much as they can even through their older years. This is, however, not to say that you have to be overwhelmed by your financial situation. What needs to be said is that you need to have a plan for the potential scenario of a grey divorce particularly with regards to your finances and security. This way you will not be overwhelmed with questions when the divorce has been finalized, because it will not help that it is the wrong and worst time to prepare and ask questions about divorce. You need to take advantage of the time you have to plan for your life post-divorce, so that you can benefit from the legal process and prepare for your transition.
First of all, you need to make sure that all your basic needs are covered like food, shelter, utilities, transportation, and health-related concerns. Making sure your needs are covered will enable you to cover the next level of your life goals such as savings, investments, and retirement. Once the basic needs are taken care of, building a firm and durable financial foundation would be easier and less stressful. Think about your basic and immediate sources of income and how you will maintain these sources of income to pay for your basic needs after a divorce. If you are working, then you might be able to picture yourself working for the next few more years. If not, you need to consider if you can go back to work. If you have been a stay at home spouse or have not had work recently, think about getting a job to sustain your daily life – these jobs may not be the most desirable, but consider meeting your basic needs first. Next, you can then focus on developing your skills. If your goal is to get a higher-paying employment, would a degree help you acquire one? If your concern is meeting your basic needs and the source of income to pay for these needs, you may consider discussing contractual alimony with your spouse when negotiating during your divorce. Contractual alimony obligates your spouse to pay you a specific amount as support post-divorce for a particular or definite period of time. However, your spouse first has to have the capacity and resources to be able to lend you support and that your requests are reasonable. This is where an accurate and complete asset and financial disclosure from one’s spouse during a divorce would come to make sense.
If your divorce case goes to trial, you may consider requesting special maintenance from the judge. This is similar to contractual alimony in that it will provide you financial support post-divorce, but instead of being agreed-upon between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse in mediation, spousal maintenance is mandated or ordered by a judge. The judge will determine what your primary needs are, the terms to help meet these needs, and if your spouse has the capacity and resources to lend you support.
Sustainable and Comfortable Retirement
Now the top concern regarding grey divorce, once the basic necessities are taken care of, is having a sustainable and comfortable retirement. In many family law cases, most people are barely satisfied with their retirement savings. Even people who have millions of dollars in retirement savings won’t express that they are satisfied. A reality that you need to deal with during your grey divorce is there is a big risk of falling behind or losing out on retirement savings. It could mean splitting your retirement savings with your spouse or not getting the expected amount you want in terms of retirement. The main concern here is that your retirement savings could likely suffer a blow from your grey divorce. Consider your options regarding the division of your retirement savings in your divorce. Consider if there other financial channels that your spouse could benefit from when dividing the community asset so that you could preserve your retirement savings. This means negotiating with your spouse to settle on personal property, real estate, and other assets in place of getting a chunk off of your retirement savings.
The more prepared you are to deal with your finances prior to your grey divorce, the better equipped you will be in choosing which options to take to make sure you settle comfortably when you retire. For this to happen, you need to consult a divorce or family law attorney to discuss your retirement and long-term goals at the very beginning when you file for a divorce. Consulting your lawyer and being honest with your concerns will activate the planning phase with your immediate needs and long-term goals in mind, which you will follow as the divorce process proceeds and reaches its conclusion.
The looming possibility of a grey divorce may seem overwhelming, but it should not paralyze you to a point that you are not able to make the best decision for your life when your marriage is past the point of saving. Once your intentions are clear and you have a solid plan that you and your lawyer are both boarded on, you can count on a fair outcome in your divorce case. Get started today by scheduling a consultation with one of our Texas divorce attorneys.