Divorce Can be Very Difficult for people over 50 but Gray Divorce is becoming more and more common! Between 1990 and 2010 the divorce rate among couples over 50 more than doubled. By 2010 more than 25% of divorcees were in this category.
What are the financial and emotional tolls on you if you are in that age group and going through a divorce?
The Sheer Economics of it can be challenging.
1. You may be 10 years away from retirement but your spouse is disabled, retired early or worked very little during the marriage. The judge may order that you pay him or her alimony or spousal support. In Illinois that generally means a percentage of your income less a percentage of her income for a certain number of years based on the length of your marriage.
2. Dividing your property could be difficult.
As part of the divorce judgment, the judge must divide your property. You may have to sell the house or refinance if you want to stay there. What if there is no mortgage and in order to stay you will have to refinance and give your spouse one half of the equity?
What if you have accumulated a great deal of money in your 401(k) and your spouse has little or no retirement savings? You may have to give her or him one half or more! Even bank accounts and stock investment accounts are subject to division by the judge. The trouble is that folks over 50 have less time to rebuild and to work. This can make it harder to divide your property.
What about the emotional toll?
You like many others may see reaching age 50 or 70 as an emotional milestone. With divorce, you will see your life heading in a different direction at a pivotal time in your life. Your children are grown and may have left the marital home. You may have been looking forward to age 60 to pursue your lifelong dreams like early retirement and divorce may cause you to have to adjust your goals.
If the divorce was not your idea and you see yourself as the spouse who is left behind, you might want to fight harder to preserve the status quo or may feel more of an emotional attachment to the family home. You might for example want to fight harder and/or be willing to give up more to keep the house.
For all those reasons, it is wise to use an experienced divorce attorney when divorcing over 50! A qualified lawyer can help guide you and help to negotiate a reasonable settlement that doesn’t derail in midlife.