Divorce happens at any age. But if you’re over 50 when you decide to split, you may have concerns about how getting divorced will affect your ability to successfully retire. There are ways to protect your assets when going through a “gray divorce” so you will still be able to enjoy your retirement and thrive in the future.
Gray divorce rates on the rise
From 1990 to 2010, the divorce rate for older adults has doubled, according to a recent study. Now, twenty-five percent of divorces include an adult over 50 years of age. Factors contributing to gray divorce rates include:
● Higher rates of remarriage (which are more likely to fail).
● Changes in the spouses’ expectations regarding marital roles.
● Women are more independent, both in career tracks and economically.
● People are living longer.
Couples divorcing after age 50 face all the same problems of younger couples divorcing. However, older adults have fewer years left to recoup income losses that result from division of assets or the effects of support obligations. Mature litigants have accrued more marital property, especially significant assets such as homes, boats, and stocks and bonds. Additionally, there may be debt that comes with the lifestyle that a couple created. In short, the gray divorce tends to be more complicated.
How to protect your assets
Negotiating a fair division of assets is difficult, especially when shared belongings have a high values. For this reason, many gray divorces include a financial management team to help value the worth of retirement accounts and assets, and to advise the parties as to the best possible division. A financial advisor can help to obtain accurate valuation for assets. This is really important because during a divorce, emotions often run high so it’s important to have an independent third party involved with financial negotiations.
You may wish to sell the marital home and downsize, to economize or simply make a fresh start without painful memories of the past. Your attorney and financial advisor can help you budget for the future so you have enough money to support your lifestyle.
If minor or adult children are involved, they further complicate the separation. Parents must discuss issues of custody and support for minor children. A divorce impacts plans you made to pay for a child’s education or marriage, take care of grandchildren, or otherwise support your adult children. If you need to return to work part-time after a divorce, you can no longer babysit your grandchild every day, for example, or you may not be able to financially support your children or grandchildren as many of us do.
Once you are sure you are divorcing, it is best to work with an attorney that is sympathetic to your needs, who may involve financial advisors if appropriate to reach the best resolution in your case.
Life After a Gray Divorce
Even in the most amicable gray divorce, separating from a person you may have spent the majority of your life with is challenging. Stay closely connected with family and friends through the divorce. And meet new people, even if it’s just new friendships. With gray divorce doubling since 1990, the typical divorcing spouse came from a generation that seldom experienced parents that divorced. This can make the whole process even more foreign and unsettling. However, upon further investigation, people involved in a gray divorce are often surprised to find out how many others are going through the same situation.
If you have any questions about gray divorce, please contact Centuori & Associates, family law and divorce attorneys of Tucson, at 520-314-6526.