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Gray Divorce Continues to Rise

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneyData shows that the rate of divorce for individuals over the age of 50 doubled between 1990 and 2010. Many people think of older couples, especially those who have been married a long time, as if they are guaranteed to stay together forever. However, the marriages of those over the age of 50 evolve though the years, and sometimes the marriage is no longer beneficial to either spouse. If you are over the age of 50 and are considering getting a divorce, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Divorce Over the Age of 50 Is Financially Complex

Those over the age of 50 are likely more financially established than a younger couple would be. This can make the division of property and assets complicated. In cases where spouses have considerably different incomes or one spouse was a homemaker or stay-at-home parent, the higher earning spouse will probably be ordered to pay spousal support. Spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, refers to payments which are made by one spouse to the other after a divorce. These payments are designed to help the lower-earning spouse maintain the same standard of living that they had as a married person. Whether maintenance is awarded in a given case will depend on several factors including:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The mental and physical health of each spouse;
  • The present financial situation of each spouse;
  • The future professional earning capacity of each spouse; and
  • Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage (financial contributions as well as homemaking and child-rearing contributions).

In Illinois, spousal maintenance is sometimes awarded on a temporary basis in order to help the recipient get back on his or her feet financially. Other times, a person paying alimony is required to do so for the rest of his or her life.

Retirement Accounts and Insurance

Often, those over the age of 50 have an established career and one or more retirement accounts. When a couple divorces, the funds that either party has in 401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts, 457 or 403(b) accounts and pensions will often be divided between both spouses. Property division can be tricky in gray divorces as well. Because Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, marital property may not be divided exactly 50-50. Instead the courts will divide marital property in a way which is reasonable and fair. For example, if one of the spouses has a disability which makes them unable to work, he or she may be awarded more of the marital property than a spouse who has a thriving career.

Another issue which should be considered for those divorcing is the issue of health insurance. A spouse who has previously been on his or her spouse’s insurance plan cannot stay on that plan once the divorce is finalized.

Considering Divorce?

If you are over the age of 50 and considering divorce, you need an attorney who is highly skilled and capable of handling the unique challenges presented by a gray divorce. Our DuPage County divorce attorneys have what it takes to guide you through the divorce process and reach the outcome you desire. Call us today to set up an initial appointment.


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