Getting Divorced as a Senior Citizen
Retirement can be no fun when you no longer like the person you are supposed to be spending it with. This is the situation that many Baby Boomers find themselves in, and according to the latest statistics, some are deciding not to stick around for the long haul.
Pew Research Center reports that the rates of divorce among Americans over the age 50 has nearly doubled since the 1990s. Now that people are healthier and living longer, they want to enjoy their golden years as much as possible. Termed a “gray divorce” by some, couples who decide to split at any age should have the right information to protect themselves.
Couples might divorce after the age of 50 for the same reasons younger couples go their separate ways; infidelity, financial difficulties, a need for more independence, or a change in ideas. There are some differences, however. Older adults face some unique challenges related to health and financial concerns, losing parents and friends, and dealing with getting older.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce later in life, you are not alone. That said, you are going to have less time to emotionally and financially recover from this split, which will present some unique challenges. So, what are some of the special issues you might face when considering divorce as a senior citizen?
Alimony is Often Awarded
Under Florida law, alimony is more likely to be awarded when a long-term marriage ends. Even if neither spouse is still working, the courts will examine the facts of the case to determine whether spousal support should be paid.
Alimony is meant to protect the spouse that is most financially vulnerable after a divorce. When a long-term marriage ends, the courts could award permanent or temporary support to help that spouse get back on their feet. When re-employment isn’t an option due to health or age, this is a consideration as well.
How Will You Deal with Retirement Accounts?
Couples that have been together for decades have probably accumulated quite a few assets and even some debts. You’ll need to agree on how to split these up, but one of the most complex issues centers around retirement accounts.
In Florida, all retirement assets can be the subject of equitable distribution in a divorce. This means that it doesn’t matter whose name is on the retirement account. When you have been married for many years, and these assets have value, it is vital that you work with an experienced divorce attorney that will make sure you receive your fair share.
Housing Can Be More Challenging
Many retirees resist the idea of giving up their marital residence. It can be an emotional choice to walk away from a longtime home, but it can also be costly to hold onto it. While it might be more difficult to find alternative housing as a senior, the alternative may not make financial sense. If you insist on taking the house in a divorce, this could be an asset that holds a great deal of value.
This means that your spouse might get something in return to even out the share of assets. This could be a greater share of a retirement or pension account or the requirement to pay less in alimony. It is also important to consider that homes come with expenses and there won’t be as much income available in the future to cover things like maintenance, insurance, and property taxes.
Your Kids Still Matter
While most senior citizens don’t have minor children, that doesn’t mean that the kids don’t matter. Granted, there won’t be contentious issues such as custody and child support, but adult children can become involved in what is sure to be a highly emotional process.
Some adult children are still receiving some type of financial support from their parents, and feel threatened by the idea that the money will soon be split. Adult children can also take sides in a divorce and attempt to influence one parent or the other. The best course of action in these cases is to keep everyone’s feelings in mind when navigating this difficult process.
Considering Divorce as a Senior Citizen?
If you are a senior citizen and are either planning to get a divorce or have been served with a notice by your spouse, the experienced divorce attorneys at Spencer Law, P.A. can help. We understand that ending a marriage is stressful enough and our goal is to help you through this period while doing everything possible to protect your financial future. For help with divorces in Escambia, Bay or Okaloosa County, call our office at 850.912.8080 or send us a message through our web contact form to schedule your initial consultation.