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Gray Divorce: Tips for Divorcing Later in Life

Naperville Divorce Attorney

Gray Divorce: Tips for Divorcing Later in Life, divorce, division of property, family lawAccording to the L.A. Times, The divorce rate for Americans over the age of 50 has more than doubled since 1990. This phenomenon, known as "gray divorce," can be attributed to a number of causes:

  • Americans are living longer, healthier lives. At age 60, an individual might live for another 25 to 35 years;
  • Divorce does not carry the social stigma that it once carried. Many Americans aged 50 and older have parents, relatives, and friends who have divorced and demonstrated what life is really like after a divorce; and
  • For the past few decades, most women have worked outside the home. Divorce no longer means financial ruin for a woman.

When a couple over the age of 50 divorces, they have different needs and concerns than those of younger couples. Their children are likely grown or soon will be adults. Retirement may be less than 15 years away. It can also be too late for an individual to realistically be able to start a new career or re-enter the workforce, making spousal maintenance a critical concern in many of these divorces. If you are over 50 and considering filing for divorce, discuss the specific issues that individuals in your age group face with your family law attorney. Determine how they will affect your divorce strategy and the issues you need to consider after the divorce is finalized.

Consider Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

If you have a fairly amicable relationship with your spouse, mediation or collaborative divorce could be the right choice for you. These forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) help divorcing couples save money on the divorce process and, in many cases, results in higher levels of satisfaction and better relationships between divorced couples.

Your Relationship with Your Children Can Change

Although you likely will not have to worry about issues like parenting time and child support in your divorce, do think about your relationship with your children and how it can change with the divorce. You can be more open about the reasons behind your divorce with your adult children, but do not attempt to "get them on your side" or use your relationship with them as leverage in disagreements with your spouse.

Know What You Want From the Rest of Your Life

Take the time to really think about what you want from the rest of your life. Maybe you want to retire to a warmer climate or an area with a lower cost of living. Maybe you want to retire from your full-time career, but continue to work part-time or volunteer. You might want to marry again, or you might decide that marriage is not for you. Your plan will determine how you should approach issues like retirement savings and a prenuptial agreement should you marry again. You may want to consider speaking to a licensed counselor to determine your goals and a financial adviser to determine how you can achieve those goals.

Determine How your Retirement Benefits will be Divided

When a couple in Illinois divorces, their assets are divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. This means that their assets are divided according to each partner's contributions to the marriage and personal needs, rather than splitting the assets 50/50. Marital assets include retirement accounts like 401(k)s, IRAs, and pensions as well as savings accounts, real estate, and investments.

The court may order that your retirement accounts be divided through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). In essence, it allows a party other than the party named on the account to receive the funds contained within and, in some cases, allows him or her to avoid certain tax implications for doing so.

Work With an Experienced DuPage County Family Law Firm

Do not simply remain in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage because you fear life after divorce at your age. It is more common than ever for individuals over the age of 50 to divorce and continue their lives in meaningful, successful ways. To learn more about the divorce process and to discuss your specific concerns regarding your divorce, contact our team of experienced DuPage County divorce lawyers at Pesce Law Group, P.C.

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