Choosing to leave a marriage when you are over 50 can give you a chance at a new start, but it is important to first understand the issues associated with later-life divorce.
A lengthy marriage is no guarantee of personal happiness or satisfaction. Increasingly, couples over 50 are calling it quits. Current research suggests that 50 percent of all marriages will end in divorce. In a study from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) that looked at divorce rates between 1990 and 2010, the rate of divorce for people over the age of 50 doubled.
The reasons for later-life divorce are not too different from those for divorce earlier in life. Because Americans are living longer, many find themselves wondering how to make their middle and senior years happier and more fulfilling. Sometimes that means moving beyond marriage.
Much of the concern about later-life divorce revolves around financial issues and readiness for retirement. In Maryland, courts aim to create an equitable, or fair, distribution of the assets and debt collected during marriage.
Here are some points to keep in mind if you are getting divorced after 50, or thinking about it:
- It’s important to be realistic: Dividing a lifetime of finances and debt is different than dividing property accumulated over two years of marriage. While your retirement nest egg could be fully funded, it may not be after divorce. It is important, especially for women, to consider they may not be better off financially after divorce. With that in mind, do not make any agreements with your husband or wife without first speaking to an attorney experienced in handling later-life divorce cases.
- Children: While child custody and support might not be a concern, you may still be supporting an adult child in their professional, personal, or other endeavors. Supporting adult children may not be feasible under divorced family circumstances.
- Retirement planning: If you and your spouse had an estate plan, you can use it as groundwork for deciding how to divide your assets in divorce instead of death. After your divorce is final, create new advanced medical directives, change life insurance and other policies, and revise your estate plan. If you become involved with a new partner, your estate plan will protect the inheritance of loved ones, like your children.
- Keeping the house? Many couples downsize their residence when children leave home. Later-life divorce is another good time to think about selling this sizeable asset in a way that benefits both parties. While some spouses may wish to hold onto the home, careful scrutiny of costs, maintenance, and potential investment opportunities for the proceeds from the sale may suggest that selling is a good idea.
Divorcing at an older age means there is less time to rebuild finances. Do your best to remain civil and engage an experienced divorce attorney to assist with low-conflict negotiation or mediation on important financial decisions if possible. Money saved on legal fees means more wealth to create a positive new beginning for you and your family.
Speak to an experienced divorce attorney in Baltimore
The Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC delivers recognized excellence in legal representation when you are considering or going through divorce in Maryland. Contact us today or call 410-602-9522 to schedule a consultation at our offices on Stevenson Road in Stevenson, Maryland.