Brazil & Benske, LLC

Older divorcing couples face unique financial issues

Older couples heading for divorce after decades of marriage must deal with financial issues they would not have worried about in their younger years.

Some of these concerns are more pressing simply because seniors do not have as much time left and must, therefore, make adjustments.

New circumstances

There are many reasons for older couples to divorce, but often it is because they have simply grown apart. The children are out on their own, so the parents are empty-nesters. One spouse may have retired, but the other is working and still well-connected to friends and activities outside of the marriage. Eventually, divorce appears to be the best solution for both people, but what then? During the property division phase of divorce, reality hits home and the financial picture looks less than rosy.

Fewer opportunities

As compared with their younger counterparts, older people do not have as much time left to manage finances that will take a hit due to divorce. Those who are already economically secure will not have as much to worry about. Others, however, may have to continue working past the age at which they hoped to retire, and those who are already retired may have to rejoin the workforce to make ends meet. There is also the matter of health issues and the increase in medical expenses, which puts a drain on finances as one grows older.

A changing lifestyle

Settling marital assets and debts can become confusing during a divorce, and the more wealth involved, the more complex the division process becomes. To begin with, long-married couples will discover to their dismay that the retirement fund they counted on to keep them comfortable in their later years will be cut in half. Each party will retain certain assets in the divorce but give up others. Each party will be heading into a future that is going to be less financially secure than anticipated.

To make it work, one or both may have to adopt a more economical lifestyle. That can begin as early as choosing the form of divorce a couple prefers. For example, mediation is a considerably less expensive process than litigation. Finances are about to become top priority and time is of the essence for an older divorcing couple.

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