Research shows that the number of people getting a divorce past the age of 50, often referred to as a “gray divorce,” has nearly doubled in the last 20 years. While the overall numbers show that divorce in the general population has actually slowed, baby-boomers continue to divorce at a high rate. There are different ideas and theories about what may be leading to these divorces, including the transformation of views on marriage over the years and an increase in spouses focus on their own levels of happiness.
No matter what the reason may be, going through a divorce at this stage in life can present unique challenges that younger divorcees are unlikely to encounter. In some ways, the longer the marriage has lasted makes it more difficult to end. Listed below are some of the more difficult challenges of a gray divorce.
Dividing incomes and property
Once people reach a certain age in life, they become more settled and dependent on a set income, from savings, social security, pensions, or any other retirement fund. Figuring out how to split that income in a way that is fair to both spouses can be tricky. Equally as tricky is dividing any and all properties and possessions that may have been acquired during the marriage. Many people find that once they’ve split up incomes and properties, they can no longer afford to live the lifestyle they were once used to. Senior couples especially should consider finances carefully as they make a decision to divorce.
On the road to divorce, some important details, including some of the financial advantages of being married, can be easily overlooked. A perfect example of this is taxes. Once divorced, the previously married couple will have to file their taxes separately, which automatically puts them in a higher tax bracket. This can sometimes come as a shock after years of filing jointly as a married couple. Taxes also play a major role in the division of funds in any retirement plan. There are very specific steps that must be taken in order to ensure both parties are protected from owing taxes on these funds. In some cases, if these steps aren’t completed properly, both parties can incur tax penalties.
Obtaining health insurance once you’re past a certain age can be extremely difficult. Insurance companies have stricter requirements, not to mention that the older we get, the more health complications we usually face. Many people are insured by their spouse’s health coverage at work or through a family policy. This could lead to a gap in health insurance coverage as the divorce finalizes. In fact, some attorneys are even known to encourage legal separation instead of divorce for seniors with health issues. This allows them to remain covered by the current health insurance policy.
With any divorce, there are many different aspects and details to consider. Every situation is different and presents its own challenges. Attempting to navigate through a divorce on your own can be very difficult. It’s not worth the stress, especially when there are knowledgeable and reasonable divorce attorneys available to help.
Brad Crider has worked with clients going through a “gray divorce” and has helped them see a favorable outcome. Give the offices of Crider Law a call today to schedule your consultation.