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Divorce Presents Unique Challenges for Couples 50 and Older

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois gray divorce, Naperville divorce lawyerThe divorce rate in the United States has been on the decline for the past 30 years. Unfortunately, that statistic only applies to younger couples, specifically those under 50. Older couples (50+) are experiencing the highest divorce rate ever for their age group. According to the American Association of Retired People (AARP), in the age 50+ demographic, the decision to begin divorce proceedings is initially made by the wife in more than 60 percent of cases.

Longer Life Expectancy is Leading to Cultural Shifts in Society

The reasons that older couples are divorcing at a much higher rate have to do with cultural, health, and social reasons. In a country where more than half of marriages fail, divorce has become part of the culture and is now considered an acceptable social norm. Additionally, with Baby Boomers living longer, partnership is viewed more critically. Older individuals want to enjoy their retirement to the fullest and are more likely to end an unhappy relationship than previous generations.

Older Married Couples Face Complicated Divorce Proceedings

Since older couples are usually more established financially than younger divorcing couples, their divorce proceedings tend to be more complicated. Estates, retirement plans, and shared healthcare can be difficult to split in a way that is satisfactory to both parties, and each spouse could face exorbitant legal expenses. This is risky for individuals over the age of 50 because they may be unable to pay for a drawn out, expensive divorce. With many of these couples already drawing on their retirement, monies spent on a divorce may never be earned back.

Estate Issues are Especially Complex

When it comes to dividing an estate in the event of a divorce, property and possessions are not the only assets to be distributed. Estate issues include home equity, health insurance, social security benefits, and retirement and pension plans. Most couples save for retirement together, and their net worth as a couple is such that a division of assets would leave each person unable to afford an individual retirement. State and federal laws dictate how retirement accounts, including Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)s, are divided in divorce proceedings. Pension plans are usually divided on an individual basis, which can further complicate the process.

For individuals over the age of 50 thinking about a divorce, consulting with a skilled family law attorney is an important first step. Please speak with a skilled Naperville divorce attorney to review your personal circumstances by calling the Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240. We are proud to serve Illinois families and we look forward to speaking with you.

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