While the divorce rate has declined in the population, there has actually been an increased rate for people over the age of fifty to get divorced. The phenomenon is being referred to as a ‘gray divorce’ and surprisingly enough, a divorce after age 50 is different from getting divorced in your 30s or 40s.
While the process of the dissolution of a gray marriage is the same as the process of any other marriage, coming to a settlement agreement can be much more challenging because each party in the divorce wants to protect themselves during the divorce and safeguard their financial future so that they are able to live comfortably in their later years.
There is no denying the fact that splitting will get harder as you age, both financially and emotionally. You must separate your emotions from the division of assets, as well as worry about unique financial repercussions that might not occur in other divorce cases. Getting divorced when you’re over 50 can be harder for a variety of reasons.
Dividing assets is a common part of divorce proceedings, but this division can create problems for one or both partners. As you get older, your ability to work to make an income quickly diminishes. Income has either stopped or slowed down, and splitting assets and fixed income affects each person compared to those who are still at a working age. You may be at-risk of not having enough money for your bills and will need to drastically change your life.
Dealing with taxes can be hard in your senior years if you are filing as a single individual. It’s hard because while you’ll be in a higher tax bracket, your income level is lower. You may also be at risk of owing taxes on your retirement accounts when the funds are divided.
Protect Your Finances During a Late-in-life Divorce
Now that you understand the unique challenges you will face; it is important to learn how to avoid financial errors so that you do not have to worry about recouping from them. Here are some valuable tips to get protective of your finances so that you can still live comfortably once you are single:
- Stay Civil When Talking About Marital Assets: When you get married, everything is about your love for your spouse. When you get divorced, it is a business transaction that is all about money. Letting your emotions affect how to behave can make it harder to divide your assets objectively. Of course, this is easier said than done, but you need to look at the divorce as a business deal instead of having the emotionally charged arguments, which will only cost you time and money.
- Evaluate Your Individual and Shared Debt: No one wants to be surprised by debt that is not in your name. Try to run credit reports on you and your spouse before you file so you’ll be able list your debt as a couple and debt that was accumulated by the other person.
- Evaluate Marital Properties and Retirement Accounts: When negotiating what type of settlement is going to be most beneficial to you, a divorce lawyer can help. Many people believe a lump sum payment to the other spouse is better than the long-term value of the assets.
- The Effects on Your Children: As you have gotten older, you have probably talked about your estate and how assets will be given out. A later in life divorce can affect this estate plan, which will affect your children and grandchildren. This would be a good time to let your children know how their inheritance could change.
- Don’t Overlook Medical Care: Older age also comes with an increase in medical issues. It is an especially important time to have health insurance since your health can affect your assets and financial future.
If you would like to speak with a divorce and family law attorney about your case and get their advice, give Shaffer Family Law a call for a consultation at (480) 470-3030.