Am I Too Old to Get a Divorce?
While the divorce rate for younger couples has started to decline, the rate of divorce for people in the latter portion of their lives is on the rise. In the United States, middle-aged people and beyond are divorcing at higher rates than they were 30 years ago. People over the age of 50, for instance, are divorcing at twice the rate. For people over 65, the rate is three times as much.
Often called “grey divorce,” more middle-aged and elderly people are divorcing due to an extended life expectancy and a change in society that allows for a better appreciation of a quality life. No matter what the reason, however, it’s wise to take a close look at the trends of divorce and the consequences that happen as a result.
What Are the Main Causes of Late-in-Life Divorces?
The reasons for late-in-life divorces vary, yet the intended result is always the same: happiness. With breakthroughs in medicine and general health, and the fact that the stigma of divorce in America has dwindled, more people late in life are looking at starting over. For some women over 50, getting divorced can be about independence, especially women who have been homemakers during the span of their marriage and weren’t included in the decision-making. Nevertheless, divorcing your spouse late in life is never an easy one.
One of the more popular reasons that people experience a grey divorce is simply growing apart. Lacking in common interests is a problem in many long-term marriages. Losing interest in the marriage itself is also common. The kids leaving the house, for instance, can cause some couples to realize that the majority of their efforts during their marriage went into raising children rather than working on their actual relationship. As a result, they have drifted apart, leaving them happier being alone than together.
For couples over 65, retirement can trigger a wide assortment of problems. Too much time on the hands can exacerbate any minor problems that one sees with their spouse. “My spouse is driving me crazy” is more common among older couples than younger couples, who would most likely have busy schedules.
Other common reasons for late-in-life divorces are regrets; the realization that you made a mistake and have lived with it for too long; differences in lifestyles; the disagreement of how to conduct your lives or spend your time; being the caretaker for others; the stress of taking care of parents or adult children moving back into the house. Other problems arise from the fixed income that comes with retirement, and illnesses that arise later in life.
What Type of Problems Occur When Divorcing Late in Life?
As with any divorce, the stress and cost can be problematic. Adult children may still choose sides. The same goes with friends and other family members. The stress of disrupting the life to which you’ve grown accustomed can cause great despair and have serious effects. The cost of divorce for a long-term marriage is also quite often a problem. Long-term marriages often bring with them more complex circumstances.
The more assets a couple has accrued, the more costly the divorce can be. Many couples who divorce late in life find themselves struggling financially after the fact. Women, in particular, often find themselves less financially stable. Regardless, it’s not uncommon that the spouse who receives the alimony often faces financial hardship, and that the paying spouse often finds that there is not enough money left to make ends meet.
What Are Some Things to Consider When Divorcing Late in Life?
Divorces can be complicated. This is especially true for couples who have had long marriages. Having given up a career or the possibility of one to raise children is a complicated matter. Also common is giving up a career to support a spouse who is developing a professional career. In such cases, alimony is critically important because of a lack of job experience and lost time, not to mention that the spouse is simply older and will most likely face less prospects.
The division of assets is never an easy one, especially when much has accrued over time. Often there is one spouse who is simply unaware of the assets that exist. Separating marital assets from non-marital assets, for instance, can be overwhelming. Figuring out how to handle pensions and retirement funds can be complicated. A pension, for instance, is a joint asset and may entitle the non-holding spouse to half of it.
Many times, it’s difficult for a spouse to figure out what is owed on their own. And what about the home? Hanging on to a home could work out positively or negatively depending on the situation. It could turn out well for the spouse on the receiving end. It’s the home to which you’ve come accustomed, the place your children have grown up in and still enjoy visiting, and the security that keeps you from having to find a new place in which to live. On the contrary, it can be costly, causing you to pay for upkeep, repairs, and rising property taxes. Careful thought as to whether or not you can afford the costs of a mortgage and the maintenance required is of the utmost importance.
Another consideration often neglected by people going through a grey divorce is whether it’s better to take a monthly alimony or lump-sum payment. Considering tax implications and assets might make a difference, as well as income and earning capability. A gray divorce could also cause severe damage to retirement plans. Paying off debts and splitting assets could send a retired spouse stumbling backward without a good chance to recover. Life insurance and health insurance are also important to consider. A working spouse might be responsible for providing these things.
Resolving issues in a divorce is rarely straightforward. It’s easy not to know what steps are needed without the help of an experienced divorce attorney. It’s highly recommended that you at least acquire a divorce lawyer and a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) to take you through the process.
Marlton Divorce Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A., Help You Navigate the Process of Divorce and Receive the Best Possible Outcome.
Preparing for a divorce late in life is a complicated matter that is often stressful. For a competent, experienced lawyer to fight for your best interests in a divorce, call our Marlton divorce lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Call us at 856-890-9400 or contact us online today to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Marlton, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Burlington County, Camden County, and Gloucester County.