Divorce at any age is a difficult, life-changing event. For couples over 50, there are some aspects of divorce that you should pay special attention to. These include division of pensions, retirement accounts, and stocks and bonds; spousal support; and in some cases child custody and child support.
Gray Divorce is on the Rise
While the divorce rate has been on the decline in recent decades, “gray divorce”—divorce of people over the age of 55—is actually on the rise. The rate of older couple divorce has actually doubled in the last three decades, according to The Wall Street Journal. One reason is that many Baby Boomers are in their second marriages, which often occur later in life. Other causes for the rise in older divorces, according to Forbes, include addiction, infidelity, poor financial management, longer life expectancy, and simply growing apart and empty nest syndrome. Whatever the cause of a so-called gray divorce, divorces later in life pose distinct challenges that should be handled by a Maryland attorney with experience specifically in asset division and spousal support.
Division of Marital Assets and How Gray Divorce Effects Retirement
For couples who have been together for 20, 30, or 40 years or more, it is likely that all of their assets are marital, and that there are essentially zero non marital assets. A lifetime of accumulating wealth and property can make it harder to divide, especially if you are retired and both spouses plan to stay that way after divorce. Divorce may, in fact, make that a difficult challenge, as there may not be enough assets for both spouses to cover their expenses. After all, costs rise when another home must be purchased or rented, and living expenses are no longer divided. Moreover, older adults have less time to rebound from financial setbacks and have less risk tolerance. This must be accounted for during asset division. All of the following are examples of marital assets that may be divided during a divorce:
- Pension plans;
- 401(k) accounts;
- Bank accounts;
- Real estate;
- Stocks and bonds;
- Businesses; and
Are There Minor Children?
For most 50-plus-year-old couples, the children have either left home or they are teenagers. In second marriages, there may be children from a previous marriage. In either case, learning that their parents are getting a divorce is hard on children, even when they are well into adulthood. Including them in conversations and keeping in communication during the divorce process is important for adult children, while custody and parenting plans may need to be worked out for teenage or minor children. Other things to consider include:
- How college tuition and expenses will be paid for.;
- Child support for minor children; and
- An older minor child’s wishes are often taken into account during custody decisions.
An Experienced Maryland Divorce Attorney is Available for Consultation
While there are certainly negative aspects of divorce, it can also be a liberating experience and a chance for a fresh start. Whether you are 50 or 80, the experienced Maryland divorce attorneys at Frame & Frame can guidyou through the divorce process to your second life. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.