Considering Divorce After 50

It used to be rare for older couples to divorce, but it’s becoming more common place. In fact recent research at the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University in Ohio found that while the national divorce rate has dropped, the rate among baby boomers, now in their 50s and 60s, has actually jumped.

While it’s still lower than the national rate, the divorce rate for that age group nearly doubled from 1990 to 2009. There are lots of reasons a couple may decide to divorce later in life, oftentimes after decades of being together. But there are some special considerations that those considering a divorce later in life should keep in mind.

In an article, Divorce over 50 – The Good and Bad of a Gray Divorce, Christina Gregoire outlines some of those considerations like dividing assets, finding an accurate assessment of those assets, and the prospect of starting a new life or finding a new job.

Gregoire, who divorced late in life herself, also says finding a good attorney is even more important as you age and have more complex finances. She writes, “Hint: When you do find a good attorney, don’t go against his or her advice without talking it over with this same attorney or with another attorney. Don’t lose everything by trying to “win.” On the other hand, don’t lose out by compromising or making deals behind your lawyer’s back.”

In Is Grey Divorce A New Baby Boomer Rite Of Passage? family law attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer offers divorcing boomers even more advice on dividing assets for those preparing soon for retirement.

“I recommend that supported spouses negotiate for a well-rounded portfolio of assets that would include a residence, retirement and non-retirement financial accounts. I also focus on negotiating for support beyond the other spouse reaching the age of retirement. In addition, I counsel clients on the importance of saving a portion of their support. For the supporting spouse, we try to limit or reduce the amount and length of support. For example, if they pay higher support for a shorter time, this may free them up in later life,” she writes.