What to Consider When You’re Over 50 and Getting a Divorce

Divorce among those over 50 used to be rare, but increasingly couples are deciding to divorce later in life, sometimes after decades of marriage.

In fact, a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, Aging Baby Boomers Boost Divorce Rate Among Older Adults, showed that while divorce rates are down in general, the rate for those in their 50s and 60s has nearly doubled in from 1990 to 2009.

There are lot of reasons people decide to get divorced in their 50s and 60s, but it’s still a hard choice and one that bears a lot of consideration. Retirement of one or both spouses is often a big contributor, the article says.

“Retired couples often face difficulties in adjusting to a life together that doesn’t include work. Spouses who once defined themselves by what they did at work can experience an identity crisis once they stop working. Meanwhile, spouses accustomed to being alone most of the day must adjust to having somebody else around, disrupting their routines,” Jeff Kunerth of the Sentinel writes.

For those going through a divorce later in life, there are special challenges that must be addressed during the process. Those include providing for a spouse or seeking a financial cushion post-retirement and preparing for potential health issues down the road.

In addition, there are often many more assets to divide between couples who are older, and that can prove tricky. An attorney can help navigate that process.

Family Law attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer in Is Grey Divorce A New Baby Boomer Rite Of Passage? writes that that age group typically has less to worry about concerning children because they are usually grown. Finances and asset division, though, are a big concern.

“Financial settlements take on heightened importance when the supported spouse has limited earning power after being out of the workforce for years or the supporting spouse has fewer years to work,” she writes.

It takes negotiation and figuring out what’s fair for both parties in deciding how to move forward.

“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.”

We can help you plan during your divorce and work to make sure your future is more secure as you face the years ahead.