The term “gray divorce” is a phrase that’s recently come into vogue to describe divorcing couples aged 50 and older. These couples have typically been married a long time, are usually retired or on their way, and tend to be affluent empty-nesters with some significant assets. With the Baby Boomer population living longer, and Generation X right on their heels, more older couples are divorcing and beginning independent lives.
The divorce rate in America is generally at an all-time low – except for those 50 and older. Since the 1990s, divorces for couples over 50 have nearly doubled, and for those over 65, it’s nearly tripled. A divorce at this age, whether it’s a first, second, or third marriage, can require a more detailed settlement.
Gray divorces present a few unique opportunities and challenges, but your attorney can help you easily work through them. When we meet with our age 50+ clients, we go over some of the following to ensure we take everything into consideration when drafting a solid divorce agreement:
- Deciding who gets the house
- Estate plans and wills
- Family-owned businesses
- Insurance coverage
- Long-term care
- Property division
- Retirement and pensions
- Social Security benefits
- Tax matters
You also need to consider the financial impact of your divorce on your future. This doesn’t mean you’ll be left with nothing – quite the opposite. It means you need to go over your finances carefully with a good attorney so you’re able to secure the support you need. Expect your lawyer to talk with you about the following:
- Identifying assets. You and your spouse will need to inventory your assets and divide them into separate and marital property. This can get complicated if you’ve been together a long time and if you don’t have a prenuptial agreement. And, when you take things like retirement, pensions and investments into account, you have to consider future value and appreciation. It’s good to have a skilled attorney on your side when trying to determine the true amount of marital assets.
- Current and/or future income. Getting divorced after 50 can reduce your household income considerably, leaving you with a lot less money to pay the bills, much less add to your retirement. Working with a divorce attorney who understands the alimony process can help you secure the support you need to continue your current standard of living.
- Health insurance needs. Tennesseans aren’t eligible for Medicare until they’re 65 years old. So, if you’re younger and currently covered by your spouse’s health insurance, you may need to secure your own health care. Typically, you can do this through temporary COBRA benefits on your spouse’s plan, or through the Healthcare Marketplace. Sometimes this can be worked into your divorce agreement.
Your attorney may also ask questions about who holds ownership to your bank accounts, home, vehicles and other property. This all helps paint a detailed picture about your financial circumstances, which helps your attorney work on the best possible settlement for your needs.
At LaFevor & Slaughter, our experienced divorce lawyers are ready to answer your questions and ease your concerns about divorce over age fifty. To set up a consultation, call our Knoxville office at (865) 637-6258 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.