Americans are increasingly pursuing divorces later in life. According to Pew Research, the number of U.S. adults divorcing at age 65 or beyond has roughly tripled since the 1990s. The trend has been nicknamed “grey divorce,” a reference to the grey hair of the spouses filing the paperwork.
Getting a divorce radically changes the plan for long-term couples who have been building toward retirement for decades. It impacts every aspect of an existing lifestyle, from social relationships to personal finance. Since there is less time for older couples to financially recover following a divorce, the settlement will have a huge impact on future quality of life.
Below are 5 things to consider when divorcing before, or during, your retirement years.
Changes in Monthly Cash Flow
Living alone changes all your monthly expenses. Single individuals bear the full financial cost of housing payments, utilities, groceries, cable, and more. They may also need to spend some money upfront on new furniture or perhaps a car.
Women tend to feel the financial pain more than male partners. Women have traditionally taken a break from the workforce to raise children. When a divorce happens later in life, some re-enter the workforce feeling a couple steps behind their peers who never left. (And who is thinking about the job market when you thought retirement was around the corner?)
A divorce attorney can help you finalize a spousal support arrangement that protects your quality of life and connect you with a Certified Financial Planner™ professional to establish a new long-term financial plan.
More Control Over Spending Habits
On the positive side, a grey divorce allows individuals to take back control over their finances. This is especially good news for couples who suffered from recurring fights over each other’s spending habits.
A fresh start can be an opportunity to become debt-free, or to make purchasing decisions without the stress of a financially controlling partner.
Social Security Benefits
Social Security benefits can be collected on an ex-spouse’s work record if:
- You are 62+ years of age
- Currently unmarried
- The marriage lasted 10 years or more
If you’ve had multiple marriages lasting 10 years or more, you can choose which spouse’s record to claim benefits on. The order of the marriages and divorces doesn’t matter.
Estate Planning for Blended Families
Divorcing later in life means a couple could be on their second or third marriage. They may have entered the relationship with children from previous marriages, and now worry about those children being disinherited or otherwise cheated out of the financial support promised to them.
There are several ways to protect your children’s financial interests. The rules surrounding estate planning can be very complicated, so it’s best to consult the advice of a family lawyer.
The stress of a divorce takes a toll on anyone, regardless of age. That being said- age doesn’t make it any easier. If you have existing medical conditions that could worsen under stress, it’s important to develop a plan for self-care that will preserve your longevity and quality of life.
Never underestimate the value of exercise, sleep, nutrition, socializing with friends, and a good therapist.
The social consequences of divorce can be really complicated. Some friends may pick sides, depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce. Other friends might be a little jealous or threatened by the big changes in your new life. Married couples who liked to participate in shared activities and double dates might gradually fall out of touch.
You may also find that children and grandchildren visit less frequently, now that they must split time between visiting Grandma and visiting Grandpa. Then again, some individuals feel lonely in their marriages, and find their social life dramatically improves post-divorce. Every couple is different.
Hire a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer
If you are considering a divorce, the family law attorneys at Arons & Solomon can help. We protect the best interests of our clients and use mediation and collaborative approaches when possible to minimize the conflict and heartache associated with divorce.
All clients leave our office with stability and a plan to move forward. Contact us today for a free consultation.