In our last post, we began a discussion about the financial problems that often accompany grey divorce – that is, divorce among couples aged 50 and older. In a nutshell, divorcing later in life leaves you very little time to recoup the retirement savings that will be lost when dividing retirement assets in half (because retiring as two single people is more expensive than as a couple under the same roof).
You can stay relatively financially protected in a grey divorce, but it takes some careful planning. As mentioned in our last post, it begins with ensuring that the divorce is as efficient and amicable as possible to avoid wasting any time or money on issues that won’t matter very much in the near future.
Focus on the highest priorities
An attorney will help you focus on the aspects of property division that matter most to you at this stage in life. For most older couples, this will include division of retirement assets, the marital residence and alimony/spousal support.
It’s important to know that retirement benefits can often be split equally, even if a pension or 401(k) only has one spouse’s name on it. As we note on our retirement assets division page, it is critical to properly value and assess all sources of retirement savings and then file the paperwork to divide them fairly. This includes the use of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and similar legal tools.
Spousal support is not a guarantee in every divorce. Rather, it is used to correct financial disparities between two spouses. It is particularly important in cases where only one spouse works/worked outside the home while the other left the workforce to raise children. Please plan to discuss alimony/spousal support with your attorney early in the process.
Getting divorced later in life may mean some lifestyle changes that you weren’t expecting. Depending on your situation, you may need to postpone retirement by a few years, live in a smaller place or generally just tighten your budget. These are not comfortable changes to make, but they can make it possible to enjoy your later years as a happy and financially secure single person.
To learn more about your divorce options and get case-specific advice, please contact an experienced family law attorney today.