Are you a senior woman considering a divorce? You are not alone. The rate of divorce among seniors has increased significantly over the decades, rising from 2.8 percent to 15 percent, reports the L.A. Times. This growing trend of “gray divorce” has many causes, from staying together for the kids to the relationship suffering from continual wear and tear.
Regardless of your reason for wanting to move on, one thing remains the same: you need to be aware of the considerations unique to a gray divorce because there are more financial consequences at this age.
As with all divorces, your finances will take a big hit. The downside for you is that you do not have decades to rebuild your finances and retirement plans as younger people do. This truth may require you to downgrade your lifestyle, get a job or put off retirement if you currently work. You also must consider how the divorce may affect your Social Security benefits and various tax obligations. The upside is that the following may help you maintain financial stability:
- Division of assets
- Spousal support (alimony)
- Claim to retirement or pension plans
- Child support, if applicable
The many financial implications make it essential that you seek the legal aid of a qualified family law attorney who can fight for the money you need. It is smart to hire a divorce financial adviser as well. In the meantime, start saving money in a separate account.
If you divorce, you will need to get your own health and life insurance policies. Consider getting disability and/or long-term care insurance, too. Although you remain on your husband’s insurance plans until the divorce is final, it is best to start researching your options now to avoid a lapse in coverage. If this presents a challenge for you, a legal separation may be a suitable alternative.
A divorce is a significant change that warrants updating your estate planning. You may need to amend your will, durable power of attorney and advance care directive. Changing this information immediately will make your wishes clear and ensure your ex-husband is not involved in any life-changing medical and monetary decisions. In addition, seek professional help to determine the impact the divorce will have on trusts, investments and other financial accounts.
Do not let these financial considerations deter you from ending your marriage. With the right legal assistance and thorough preparation, you can get through the transitional period and achieve lasting financial stability and happiness.