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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Five important things to consider when divorcing as a senior

What was once considered taboo more than 60 years ago, divorce has become mostly socially acceptable, especially among women who generally had the most challenging time following a divorce decades ago. As such, many couples who thought they would have to “tough things out” are looking to dissolve their marriage now – sometimes even after spending decades being married.

Called gray divorce, this new trend, while it does offer a chance for long-term couples to move on with their lives once and for all, also comes with its challenges. For seniors looking to divorce, here are five important things you will want to consider before saying, “I don’t.” 

How will your retirement accounts be divided?

Like many other assets accrued during the course of marriage, retirement accounts will also need to be divided during divorce because those assets are considered marital property.

When dividing a retirement account in Georgia, any assets accrued prior to marriage will likely be classified as separate property and go to the spouse who earned it. Whatever is left over will be divided equitably in accordance with state law.

Who will get the family home?

In many gray divorces, the family home can be a source of contention, especially if it has increased in value since first purchasing it. The current value of the marital home is taken into consideration during property division in Georgia, making it a valuable — and oftentimes hotly contested — marital item that could be a greater benefit to one spouse over the other.

Will alimony be awarded?

In Georgia, family law judges take the length of marriage into consideration when making determinations concerning an alimony request, among other things. The longer the marriage — and the more dependant one spouse is on the other for financial support — the more a judge may award and for a longer period of time.

Do you plan on updating your will after your divorce?

Most states have laws in place that treat a divorced spouse as having predeceased their former spouse for purposes of will beneficiaries. But gray divorce creates a unique predicament: you could die before your divorce is finalized, thus leaving an intended ex as the beneficiary of your estate.

If you haven’t considered updating your will — or considered any of the items above — now is as good of a time as ever, especially if you are a senior considering divorce.