Gray Divorce: Special Considerations for Couples Splitting Late in Life
Statistics show that couples are divorcing later in life. In fact, the divorce rate amongst older couples has tripled since the 1990s. This type of marriage dissolution between partners over the age of 50 has become known as gray divorce. While the dissolution process generally follows the same legal framework as any divorce, there are some unique considerations that couples splitting up later in life must face.
Some of these considerations are financial and include:
- Social Security — Spouses may be entitled to spousal benefits based on their ex-partner’s social security earnings.
- Retirement accounts — Dividing retirement accounts and pensions requires careful attention to valuation and to avoiding tax penalties for early withdrawals. QDROs (qualified domestic relations orders) may be necessary.
- Debts and assets — Older couples typically have had more time to accumulate more assets, and sometimes, significant debt. Dividing accumulated assets like property, investments and debts needs to be fair and consider future financial needs, such as long-term care.
There are also medical and health concerns to consider when divorcing later in life, including:
- Healthcare coverage — Maintaining adequate health insurance after divorce can be a concern, especially when one spouse has been dependent on the other’s medical coverage.
- Living arrangements — Deciding on living arrangements post-divorce, whether downsizing or selling shared property, needs careful planning.
- Estate planning — Reviewing and updating wills and estate plans to reflect the divorce is especially essential for older individuals. Putting your affairs in order after a divorce can ensure that your assets are distributed to the correct people.
Seeking legal counsel experienced in gray divorce can help you navigate the intricacies of the process and protect your interests when it comes to healthcare considerations and financial concerns associated with the divorce.
At Peggs Wheeler, LC in Wichita, we are skilled family law attorneys with experience handling divorce cases involving older couples. For guidance on your particular matter, please reach out to us by calling 316-512-7853 or contacting us online.