Over the last several years, the number of gray divorces, meaning those involving people aged 50 and older, has increased dramatically. Some people seek a divorce later in life because their children are out of the home, which refocuses their attention on their failed marriage, while other issues like financial problems, substance abuse, and infidelity drive some to seek marriage dissolution.
But regardless of why you’re now facing gray divorce, you have to be prepared to confront the realities that face you. This requires preparation, knowledge of the law, and aggressive advocacy. After all, if you enter the divorce process without an understanding of what it entails and what’s at stake, you could be setting yourself up for a terrible outcome.
The gray divorce issues that you need to pay attention to
As with any divorce, a gray divorce is going to have a number of legal issues that you’ll want to pay attention to. Yet, these later in life divorces highlight the importance of some key divorce issues. Let’s look at them here:
- Property division: Although under our state laws the marital estate is supposed to be fairly divided through divorce proceedings, what one defines as “fair” is rather subjective. This gives a lot of wiggle room for argument, and you need to make sure that you’re ready to fight for what you deserve. After all, given the age at which you’re divorcing, you won’t have much time to rebuild the wealth that you’d accumulated with your spouse. This can threaten not only your retirement, but also your immediate financial well-being.
- Spousal support: If you’ve been out of work for a significant period of time to take care of your children, run the household, or support your spouse, then you might be at a financial disadvantage once your divorce is finalized. As an older worker with less experience, it might be hard if not impossible for you to find a job that allows you to maintain your marital standard of living. This is where spousal support might be able to assist and why you need to make sure that you have strong legal arguments to support your request for such support.
- Health insurance: If you were insured through your spouse’s coverage, then divorce can leave you without the protection that you need, especially as you’re moving into later stages of life that may require more extensive medical treatment. Therefore, as you’re negotiating or litigating your divorce, you’ll want to pay close attention to how you’re going to ensure that you’re medically protected.
There are a lot of other issues that may be key to your divorce. For example, if you’ve inherited a significant amount from a loved one, then you’ll want to determine if that’s separate property that you can keep for yourself post-divorce, or if it has been comingled with the marital estate to such an extent that it’ll now be subjected to division. You’ll also want to pay particularly close attention to retirement accounts, Social Security benefits, and life insurance coverage as you move forward with your divorce.
Do you need a legal ally on your side?
As you can see, there’s a lot to navigate as you proceed through your gray divorce. If you want to be as successful as possible in this process, then you need to be diligent, thorough, and aggressive. That may not be easy to do given your emotional attachments to these issues, but that’s where a legal professional can step in to help.
Therefore, if you’re ready to find the support that you need as you navigate your marriage dissolution, then please consider researching and reaching out to those firms that you think will give you the advocacy that you deserve.