While overall divorce rates seem to be on the decline, statistics show a rise in “gray divorce,” or couples filing for divorce later in life.
Couples divorcing at the age of 50 or over face challenges that differ from those facing younger couples. To protect your future, you need to work with a divorce attorney who understands the potential problems and how to negotiate creative and effective solutions.
The Family Home May Be as Much of a Liability as an Asset
If you have lived in your home for many years, you have built up a store of memories. You may have made alterations to get it exactly the way you want. Your home may be your oasis, and a refuge you don’t want to give up.
But think long and hard before build your financial plan around efforts to keep the house. You will have sole responsibility for mortgage payments, utilities, tax liability, insurance, and repair costs. You may be paying costs to keep up a home that is far larger than you need. While it is tempting to strive for security and stability by staying in your home, make sure you run the numbers carefully so you know you won’t make yourself “house poor.”
Develop a Financial Plan
Couples divorcing face higher living expenses as they establish two separate households. When couples divorce at an older age, they have less time to rebuild savings before retirement. One or both of you may be planning to retire soon or change to a career that is more fulfilling but less lucrative. You could be at a point where you receive pension payments or are required to take required minimum distributions from IRAs.
You need to work with a financial professional to develop a workable strategy to cover living expenses on your own, and that could mean a change of plans.
Account for Health Issues
The older you are at the time of divorce, the sooner you are likely to face the impact of health issues. A condition could develop or worsen that makes it impractical for you to work. Your healthcare costs are likely to rise, and you may no longer be covered by a spouse’s insurance. Make sure you plan for health costs and other factors in your post-divorce plans.
Don’t Forget the Family
Even if you don’t have minor children, you may still have family obligations that you need to consider in your divorce settlement. You may need to allocate debt for a child or grandchild’s college expenses. One of you may have promised to cover expenses for a future event such as a wedding or the start of a business. Be sure to discuss potential family obligations and incorporate them into your plans.
Share Information with Your Attorney
A divorce lawyer who is experienced in handling gray divorce cases will know to anticipate certain issues, but every case is unique. Provide your attorney with full information about your personal and financial situation so your legal advocate can negotiate the best terms for your divorce settlement.
If there was any abuse during the marriage, for instance, that can affect key issues such as property division and alimony. It may be a topic you don’t want to dwell on, but it is important for your attorney to be aware of.
The team at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC helps couples divorcing over age 50 reach divorce settlements that protect their interests and enable them to move forward. For a confidential consultation to learn how we can work to safeguard your future, contact us today.