The divorce rate for people over fifty (50) years of age has doubled since 1990. The divorce rate for people over sixty-five (65) has more than doubled. While older people in their second or third marriage have always had a higher rate of divorce, now more people with long term marriages are divorcing. This phenomenon is sometimes known as a “gray divorce”.
The gray divorce trend affects people in Brevard County and in Florida as a whole because of the high number of older residents. This article discusses a few of the issues that arise in gray divorces.
With a gray divorce, you may already be retired or retirement may be on the horizon. Suddenly the assets that were sufficient for retirement are cut in half. While most people in retirement are careful with their money, an unexpected divorce can force a hard restructuring of your budget.
Dividing Retirement Plans.
Retirement plans come in all shapes and sizes. It is critical that you understand what plans are pretax and what plans are not subject to tax. A pension may continue until death while a 401(k) can be depleted. Some retirement plans may pay a guaranteed stream of money while others are subject to market forces. Make sure your divorce settlement awards you the retirement plans that meet your needs.
Social Security and Medicare.
Knowing what social security payments and Medicare benefits you are entitled to is important in divorce settlements. Even if you are not yet receiving social security benefits you can find out what your payments – and what your spouses’ payments- will be.
The longer a couple has been married, the more likely it is that alimony will be a consideration in a divorce. If one spouse is still working the court could see that income stream as a source for alimony.
The Marital Home
What to do with the home can be an emotional decision. The divorcing couple may have lived in the home together for decades. The total cost of the home needs to be carefully evaluated. Even if there is no mortgage payment the cost of taxes, insurance, lawn care, utilities, pool care, and home owner association fees can be considerable.
Other issues in a gray divorce can include your personal health and health insurance, modifying your will or trust, the reaction of your adult children, maintaining your important relationships, and dealing with the emotional impact of the divorce.
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