Issues When Couples Divorce Later in Life

Divorce is very common among individuals who are 55 years of age or older. According to the most recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau, divorce rates were highest (approximately 43%) among men and women between ages 55 and 64. Going through a late-life divorce can be emotional yet liberating. Divorce can affect different aspects of your life, including your family, assets, retirement, estate plan, and Social Security benefits. Therefore, when considering a divorce later in life, consulting with an experienced California divorce attorney is crucial for detailed guidance.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we are committed to offering knowledgeable and comprehensive guidance to clients in family law matters, including late-life divorce. Our experienced family law attorneys are available to discuss your unique situation and help you understand some considerations when contemplating a late-life divorce. We’re proud to serve clients throughout San Jose, Morgan Hill, Hayworth, Pleasanton, and Santa Clara County, California.

Common Reasons People Divorce Later in Life

Here are some reasons that people divorce later in life:

The Couple Has Grown Apart: Spouses often grow apart later in life after realizing that they have little in common. In some cases, this may be due to infidelity, lack of communication, or a major disagreement. Any of these could easily lead to a late-life divorce.

The Last Child Left Home: For some couples, being together centered around parenting their children. Once their last child leaves home, they may discover they no longer want to be married.

Retirement: When couples retire and have more time to spend with each other, they start to realize how much they’ve grown apart over the years due to working, raising kids, and staying busy.

Aging: As we age, our overall health experiences certain changes. The body’s systems may be unable to function as they did in our youthful years. Unfortunately, some spouses may not be able to deal with their partner aging quickly.

Spending Habits: Overspending can be a major issue for some older couples. The significant differences in their spending habits may result in a divorce.  

Life Regrets: A lot of seniors are suddenly filled with life regrets as they grow older and realize they’re unhappy with their life choices. Rather than continue staying in an unhappy marriage, filing for divorce may be the eventual option.  

Differences in Lifestyle Choices: Older adults may prefer to spend their lives with someone they have something in common with. Differences in lifestyle choices may lead to unhappiness. This may ultimately result in a divorce.

If you and your partner have grown apart or are considering filing for divorce due to other reasons, an experienced attorney can enlighten you about the things to consider and walk you through the divorce process.

Considerations

If you are considering filing for late-life divorce, here are some important things to put into consideration:

Division of Assets: In long-term marriages, asset division is usually very complicated. Couples will have to determine the value of their retirement funds and differentiate between marital property and separate property.

Alimony: At this stage, spousal support can make a significant difference between both spouses. At such an older age, one of the spouses may be unable to work or secure new employment. If alimony is awarded, the paying spouse may be unable to pay or have little or nothing left after making spousal support payments.

Retirement: Also, dividing retirement plans can be complex and needs careful consideration. A separate court order may be required to cover the division of retirement benefits. 

Life Insurance: If alimony is awarded in the divorce settlement, the paying spouse will carry a life insurance coverage in an amount and term equal to the amount and duration of the spousal support payments awarded. Hence, this may be an additional responsibility for the paying spouse.

Social Security: However, unlike marital assets, the divorce court may be unable to help seniors divide their Social Security benefits. In such cases, you may need to hire an experienced financial analyst and tax professional to help evaluate and divide your Social Security benefits.

Estate Planning: During and after your late-life divorce, you may need to evaluate the beneficiaries in your will or retirement plans, powers of attorney, and advanced directives. Should your spouse be listed as a beneficiary or any other designated role, you may need to review this and make necessary modifications.

However, this is not a comprehensive list, and there are still several other key issues related to late-life divorce you must put into consideration. An experienced attorney can evaluate your unique circumstances and determine the best course of action.

Let Us Help Protect Your Future

Going through divorce as a senior can be frightening. On the positive side, a late-life divorce may help you achieve peace of mind and ultimately increase your happiness. However, there are several considerations for seniors and older adults contemplating filing for divorce. Therefore, you need to speak with an experienced family law attorney for detailed guidance and to help make informed decisions.

At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, our attorneys have the experience and resources to assist and guide seniors and older adults in divorce-related matters. As your legal counsel, we can evaluate your unique situation and explore your available options. Our team will work diligently with you and your spouse to settle divorce matters and relationship differences peacefully and productively. We will fight compassionately to protect your rights, help negotiate a fair divorce settlement, and help make your transition as seamless as possible.

Every divorce is unique. Contact The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer today to schedule a simple consultation with experienced divorce attorneys. Our team will offer you the comprehensive legal guidance, support, and brilliant advocacy you need during this difficult phase in your life. Our firm proudly serves clients throughout San Jose, Morgan Hill, Hayworth, Pleasanton, and Santa Clara County, California.

Posted in Divorce

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