Even when it is the best decision, divorce is never easy or convenient. Divorce among people 50 and older has almost doubled since 1990. Often referred to as “gray divorce,” there are many complications involved when long-term marriages split up. 

Older couples are more likely to have high-value assets but less disposable income to pay for things like spousal support. Some households include an elderly parent or a grown child with disabilities that require lifelong care. 

Sorting out the emotional tangles that are created over decades of marriage is difficult, and so is making sure each partner receives a fair divorce settlement. Having an attorney who understands how to navigate the divorce process on behalf of their client is key. 

Financial Considerations For Later-Life Divorce

Older couples may own more than one home or have a luxury RV. They might own a small business together where they both work. Retirement savings, Medicare benefits, and other assets, as well as debts, must all be valued to ensure a fair distribution. 

Both people may need to reconsider their retirement plans. If one person has traditionally been the breadwinner, their decision to retire early or remarry can have a profound impact on the financial future of their ex-partner. 

The process of dividing assets and debts fairly is always a complicated part of divorce. But at a time of life when earning power is decreasing, it is even more important that each partner’s needs and contributions are considered. 

Few couples are capable of making equitable financial decisions during divorce. It may be in everyone’s best interests to hire an attorney who is experienced with the division of assets.

Lifestyle and Living Arrangements

Older couples who divorce must often face the fact that not only will their living quarters most likely be downsized, but so will their lifestyle overall. Since the family home is the largest asset for most couples, it must typically be sold to facilitate a fair distribution of assets. 

The emotional cost of moving at this stage of life can be high. Leaving the home where the couple may have raised children, planted gardens, and hosted holiday gatherings is emotionally charged. The thought of having to move to a smaller house or apartment can make things even worse. 

When younger couples divorce, they still have many years ahead to build their careers. Any financial losses, like the loss of a home, can be overcome. Individuals who are nearing retirement age may have fewer financial opportunities. They may need to put travel plans on hold or give up leisure time to take a part-time job. 

However, this doesn’t mean a person who divorces later in life is doomed to living paycheck-to-paycheck in a dark basement apartment. A prenuptial agreement may already be in place to protect both partners. 

If not, seeking legal counsel for issues such as alimony and property division will help ensure both people continue living full and happy lives. 

Life Goes On — And So Will You

Getting divorced after many years or decades of marriage can feel like a sort of death. Your social life may change. Relationships with your grown children may be strained, and you may have to imagine a new future for yourself as a single person. However, it is also an opportunity to explore life from a new perspective. 

Support from friends, a mental health professional, and an attorney who knows how to protect your rights will help you transition into a new life free from the burden of an unhappy marriage.

Contact the Bergen County Family and Divorce Law Firm of Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers for more help

Contact the experienced family attorneys at Arons & Solomon Divorce Lawyers today for legal assistance. Visit our law office in Bergen County or give us a call at (201) 487-1199 to schedule a free consultation with our team.

Bergen County Law Office
1 University Plaza Dr #400, Hackensack, NJ 07601, United States