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Lifestyle Choices After Gray Divorce: Retire Modestly or Return to the Workforce for a Second Career?


People over 50 account for the largest percentage of divorce cases filed in recent years.  The media stereotype about gray divorce is that both spouses have separate incomes and can comfortably retire without each other, so once their children have grown up, they give up on trying to resolve their differences and instead go their separate ways.  As much as divorcees who receive correspondence from the AARP try to persuade their Facebook friends that they are living a fabulous life, divorce creates financial stress for seniors as much as it does for the parents of minor children.  Those websites about amicably dissolving your empty nest are aspirational at best.  Things are not so simple if one spouse depended financially on the other during the marriage, or if financial struggles characterized most of your years together.  Divorce can be messy at any age, and you may need the help of a Boca Raton divorce lawyer to get your share of the marital property.

Don’t Base Your Retirement Plans on Promises Your Ex-Spouse Made During Your Marriage

The courts in Florida ruled on a dispute between former spouses over whether the wife, who was 59 years old at the time of the court order finalizing the divorce, was entitled to permanent alimony.  The parties married in 1992 and filed for divorce in 2010; they did not have children together.  For the first four years of the marriage, both parties were employed.  In 2000, the husband’s employer laid him off from a highly paid position.  The money he received through a separation agreement was enough that the parties, who were in their early 50s at the time, could both afford to retire early.  The husband promised the wife that she would never have to work again.

For the rest of the marriage, the parties lived on investment income.  When they divorced, they sold their second home, which was located in Maine, and divided the proceeds.  The wife requested permanent periodic alimony.  The parties disagreed on the amount, because the husband believed that the court should impute income to the wife.  He summoned experts to support the claim that she could earn at least $40,000 per year in a fundraising position similar to the work she had done before she retired.  He also argued that, if she chose not to reenter the workforce, she could get enough money to cover her expenses by investing her share of the proceeds of the house in Maine.  Florida case law is full of examples where the courts had to divide the assets of long-married couples so that both spouses could afford a lifestyle during retirement comparable to the lifestyle they enjoyed during the marriage.

Contact Schwartz | White About Divorce After Middle Aged

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if you are getting divorced when you are approaching retirement age.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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