Divorce is never easy, but it can be especially difficult when you are over 50. These so-called “grey divorces” have been on the rise in recent years, and there are several things that couples need to consider when going through this process. One of the most important things to remember is that assets accumulated during the marriage must be divided fairly. Family law attorneys can help make sure that you get what you deserve, especially in the areas listed below.
Alimony must be analyzed differently when an older couple divorces as opposed to a younger couple who is divorcing. This type of financial support can become more necessary in cases whether years go by without work done by one spouse or whether there were many full-time jobs held throughout that time period for both partners. If either of the parties is already retired, it becomes even harder on them financially where there may not be enough income coming in from pensions alone – especially if one spouse was primarily responsible for managing household finances while they were married.
Possession of the Marital Home
Fighting over the marital home is nothing new, and it occurs in divorces with people of all ages. However, it can be difficult for some spouses to walk away from a house that they have called ‘home’ for decades, raised their children in, and have made significant financial investments throughout the marriage. That being said, it is critical for parties to understand that if they fight to keep the house (or any other specific high-value asset), they should be prepared for the possibility they may have to give up another significant asset in return.
There is a finite pool of marital assets and debts that will need to be divided, and by keeping the house, typically one of the largest assets in the marriage, the other spouse will need to receive increased value elsewhere. This could come in the form of a cash payout or a larger pool of retirement or investment funds. Though there is no right or wrong answer for this issue, it is important to be aware of what you may need to potentially give up if you insist on keeping possession of the marital home.
Investment and Retirement Accounts
Some parties are surprised to learn that investment and retirement accounts will be treated as marital assets in a divorce, regardless of whether they were owned by one spouse or both spouses. When you divorce after the age of 50, there are likely many more of these types of accounts to divide than if you divorce earlier in life.
We will often advise our clients with large marital estates to allow us to employ a financial expert to assist with the asset division proposals. Parties who divorce as older adults are less likely to remarry, and they will often have fewer prime-earning years ahead of them. A financial expert can help the client determine the best way to manage the financial assets they will have post-divorce so that they get maximum value and use those resources for the remainder of their life.
Although the divorce rate has been on the rise recently for couples over the age of 50, it’s still important to consider all aspects of a later-in-life split before making any decisions. By understanding the unique challenges and considerations involved in divorcing later in life, you can make sure that your breakup is as smooth and stress-free as possible. We are here to help.
If you find yourself facing the prospect of a separation, divorce, alimony, support, or other financial issues, you need the help of an experienced South Carolina family law attorney to guide you through the difficult process. Ben Stevens is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He has the experience to help guide you through the most complicated family law issues. You are invited to contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an appointment.
Author: J. Benjamin Stevens
Articles have been Reprinted with permission from the charlotte observer and Mike Hunter.
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