In recent years, the U.S. has experienced a trend toward the increase of divorces involving people in their 50s or older. “Late life” or “grey divorces” have many of the same issues that affect all separating or divorcing couples. However, grey divorces take on a unique – and sometimes more urgent – character because of some specific issues:
- Employability. When a separation or divorce occurs later in life, the challenge of ageism in the workforce, and the employability of each spouse impacts the matter of support. Determining support obligations may take this into account.
- Looming Retirement. When one or both of the parties anticipate retirement in the very near future, support arrangements take on a different significance. The time to earn income and to create or increase retirement assets may be limited in the grey divorce.
- Retirement. Support agreements and cash flow take on a different character when the parties are in their retirement.
- Retirement Assets. Grey divorces face the immediate issue of required distributions from retirement assets and how to allocate these between the divorcing couple.
- Home Ownership. Maintaining or disposing of what is often the parties’ most valuable asset is always an important issue. However, in grey divorces the marital home has often been held for a significant portion of a mortgage. It is important to be aware of options such as reverse mortgages.
- Social Security Benefits. The receipt of Social security benefits is an important factor when discussing support in the context of separation and divorce.
- Health Insurance. Divorcing spouses will likely have to deal with obtaining health insurance for at least one party. Older individuals can have a tougher time obtaining health insurance. There is also the issue of transitioning to Medicare, and the impact that this can have on private health insurance costs.
- Children. Grey divorces do not tend to involve custody and support of minor children, however, even adult children are impacted by the change in the family dynamic. Additionally, couples in grey divorces may be contendingr with adult disabled children and grandchildren.
Mediation and Collaborative Practice are particularly suited for the resolution of the unique issues facing those in “grey divorces” without the devastating financial and emotional toll of litigation. Mediation and Collaborative Practice allow parties to create an amicable resolution, designed especially to meet their individual needs and goals.
Do you have any questions about these issues and how they might relate to your situation? Contact us here to set up a consultation.
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