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Gray Divorce: Special Considerations for Late in Life Divorcees

Divorce is no longer for the young and immature. The rate of divorce amongst couples age 50 and older – in 2009, it was at a rate of 1 out of every 4 divorcing couples – has doubled in the past 20 years. The trend in the number of baby boomers divorcing later in life has even resulted in the term “gray divorce.”

Late-in-Life Divorce Brings Special Considerations

There are many reasons baby boomers are choosing to enter their golden years divorced – loss of compatibility, the children have moved out, or an unwillingness to care for an aging spouse. Whatever the reasons, gray divorces are not easier than those between younger spouses. While there normally will be no arguments over child custody and child support, baby boomers have other issues to consider.

Division of Property. Couples who have been married for more than 20 years generally have accumulated more assets than young newlyweds. And after spending so many years together, separate assets each spouse may have had going into the marriage may have been commingled during the marriage, thus making them marital property. These assets will be subject to Florida’s laws of equitable division. This can sometimes drag the divorce proceedings out and make them more contentious, as the parties squabble over every asset.

Insurance. In order to equitably divide the marital estate, one spouse may be required to take out a life insurance policy payable to the other spouse or her estate. Insurance premiums increase not only with age, but as the health of the insured declines. This can make things more costly for both parties.

Retirement assets. Most couples save for retirement together. Suddenly, you may find yourself staring down your retirement date with half the assets you had anticipated to get you through your golden years. And depending on the type of retirement assets each spouse has, you may be required to obtain a QDRO to divide the assets, or you may be unable to receive your share in a lump sum payment, instead having to wait until your spouse reaches retirement age.

Health insurance. Some employers include as part of their pension plans insurance benefits for the employee and his spouse, either with no or low-cost premiums. If your only health insurance benefits are through your spouse’s employer, you may suddenly find yourself having to become self-insured, adding unexpected costs to your golden years.

Health care. If one spouse is chronically ill or has a medical condition that requires a caretaker, she may suddenly find herself having to pay for the care she thought her spouse would provide. This may make reaching an agreement out of court regarding the division of assets more difficult, as the ill spouse would seek a greater share of the marital assets to compensate for the fact that she will now need to hire caregivers.

Boca Raton Divorce Attorneys

Divorce, no matter when it occurs, is difficult. But for gray divorcees, concerns about your health and financial future are more immediate. Our experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys can help you navigate the unique issues faced by those going through a late in life divorce and help ensure an equitable division of assets that will keep you financially secure as you head in to your golden years. Contact our Boca Raton office today at 561-391-9943, or complete our convenient web form, and schedule your free initial consultation today.

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