The Older, Wiser, Divorce
There may be many reasons for the trend toward the increase of divorces after age fifty-- "late life"or "grey divorces" as they are sometimes called. It may be that we are living longer and we are more mindful about quality of life, or perhaps it is that men and woman are more similarly situated these days with regard to finances and retirement planning, and it may not be necessary to stay together for financial survival.
When it comes to our attitudes, 50 may be the new 40, but when it comes to divorce, the older we get, the more we need to consider:
Employability. Many of us may be in the prime of thriving careers at age 50, but others of us may not have worked outside of the home in many, many years. The prospect now of having to get back out there into the job market at age 50 and compete with younger models may be daunting. The amount of time you have been out of the workforce and how easily your skills and resume can be brushed off and shined up will dictate to some extent the terms of resolution.
Time. So, you are enjoying a successful career or maybe you have reentered the work force with relative ease, but for how long? The divorcing 30 year old sees many years ahead for earning and retirement planning. At 50, we can see retirement in the horizon; most of us do not want to work forever. Here we are, though, faced with splitting our existing retirement assets, with not a whole lot of time to build them back up-at least not if we want to actually take time to enjoy them. Again, this is something a bit different about a "grey divorce" that needs special attention.
Assets and Cash Flow. Divorcing later in life may mean taking advantage of rules, products and services that will allow us to generate an income stream or decrease or better manage our liabilities. We need to think about annuities, reverse mortgages perhaps, or how to maximize Social Security benefits.
Other Professionals. It is imperative when divorcing later in life to involve the services of financial experts and estate planning experts. Guidance about who to consult and for what purposes is invaluable.
The Mediation and Collaborative Divorce Processes serve those in "late life" or "grey divorces" just as well as those divorcing earlier in life, and in many ways, these processes are even more valuable, as they offer the space and latitude to address and resolve the unique and sensitive issues faced by older individuals as they forge their separate paths.