A number of recent news articles in the New York Times and elsewhere are noting some of the special challenges faced by those divorcing later in life.
Divorce attorneys in New Jersey continue to see an increase in the number of so-called “gray divorces” as baby boomers become empty nesters and head into retirement in record numbers.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is among those reporting the number of divorcing couples over the age of 50 has doubled since 1990.
Considerations for Divorcing Older Couples
Older couples are more likely to divorce with significant assets and will have less time to build financial security before retirement. A New Brunswick divorce lawyer can help assist clients in protecting their financial future. Some important considerations include:
- Older couples are more likely to have one spouse who was the primary wage-earner, while the other spent a larger portion of their career years raising children and taking care of the household. This can have significant financial implications as an older adult re-enters the workforce.
- In cases where one spouse spent years tending to household finances, special care must be taken to make a full accounting of a couple’s assets.
- Children may be raised or in college and spousal support (alimony) may be limited by retirement. Specific tax differences between alimony and child support must also be taken into consideration.
- Special care must be taken to secure rights to social security benefits. For marriages lasting 10 years or longer, the Social Security Administration permits retirees to collect an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits in many cases.
- Likewise, you may be entitled to a portion of your ex-spouse’s retirement or pension plan.
- Tax implications must be fully considered. Not all retirement accounts are treated equally when it comes to taxes – some are pre-taxed, while others must have taxes paid upon withdraw. Selling a marital home may also create a tax burden, erasing what might otherwise be considered equity going to one partner as part of a divorce agreement.
- Insurance considerations: Health, life, auto, home, and other policies must all be reviewed and plans made for the future.
- Separating finances is equally critical. Just because you and your spouse agree to who pays the mortgage and takes responsibility for your credit card balances, doesn’t mean the banks are obliged to agree in the event a former spouse fails to live up to the bargain.
Building Success After a Late Divorce
None of this is to say divorce does not mark a fresh start and a successful new beginning for older couples.
Most of the challenges stem from having substantial assets, which is a better problem to have than the alternative. And, in many cases, child custody is not a substantial issue. But problems arise when long-time couples, out of a desire to remain fair and civil, don’t seek proper advice form a divorce attorney in New Brunswick. The fact is these are complex cases.
Older adults are living longer than ever and enjoying better health. Those looking to make the most of these years must take care to protect their rights and their financial security to ensure they are building their new future on a strong foundation.
Contact Rozin-Golinder Law LLC by calling (732) 810-0034 for a free and confidential consultation.