Older people who divorce face unique issues

The number of people getting divorced when they’re in their 50s, 60s and even older is increasing. In fact, in the dozen years leading up to 2012, the number of divorces for people between 55 and 64 doubled and then some. The number among those 65 and older actually tripled.

The fact that people are generally living longer than they were a generation ago may be a factor. However, even though you may have many good, healthy years ahead of you if you divorce in your senior years, you still face financial challenges that divorcing people decades younger don’t.

People who divorce in the latter half of their lives likely already have their retirement plans tied up with those of their spouse and a considerable amount of money invested in them. That’s in addition to investments and other assets. Therefore, how those assets are divided is critical.

While they may have some working years ahead of them, they have less time to recover from a settlement that’s not in their favor. That’s why it’s crucial to get sound legal and financial advice to help ensure that the retirement plans you’ve made aren’t ruined by poor decisions during your divorce.

There are also estate planning issues that anyone of any age getting a divorce should remember. However, they’re particularly important for older people. You want to look at all of your estate planning documents, including your will, trust, power of attorney and health care directives to determine what changes you need to make.

It’s also essential to look at your beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and life insurance policies. If you no longer want your spouse on those, you’ll need to make some changes. Remember that changing beneficiary designations on a will isn’t enough. You have to do it on each account and policy, as those supersede what’s in your will.

Many women who divorce in their 50s and older haven’t worked outside the home for many years, if ever. Therefore, spousal support may be crucial after a divorce.

Your Florida family law attorney can help you deal with all of these and other issues during a divorce. You may also want to consult with a financial planner as well as your estate planning attorney if he or she isn’t also your family law attorney. Experienced guidance is essential at this time.

Source: Forbes, “Easing The Financial Impact Of Divorce In Retirement,” Juliette Fairley, Next Avenue, Jan. 22, 2016

What should I include in my Florida parenting plan?

If you share custody of your child with another parent, the fact is that there is a very real potential for disputes or complications to arise. Even if you both are amicable and in agreement at the beginning of the process, there is no way to predict the future and potential issues that may come up later on down the line. You can, however, plan for these situations.

In Florida, parents who share custody of a child will need to have a parenting plan in place. These agreements define crucial boundaries, rules and obligations with which parents must comply while the agreement is in place. 

Some of the most essential information that appears in a typical Florida parenting plan refers to the actual custody schedule in place. This includes when a child will be with each parent, including weekend and weekday schedules, holidays and vacations.

Another key element in a parenting plan addresses parental decision making. Raising a child separately but together can lead to confusion and miscommunication when it comes to making decisions for a child. A parenting plan will clearly establish whether one or both parents are permitted to make daily and/or emergency decisions.

Beyond these factors, a parenting plan can also set rules for who will pay for extracurricular activities, how and when custody exchanges should occur, how disputes between parents should be resolved, how and when a parent can communicate with a child who is in the custody of the other parent as well as a whole host of other issues that can and do arise in shared parenting arrangements.

It is important that these decisions be made fairly and amicably, if possible. Parents who can work together to develop a parenting plan typically find that they are able to create one that is fair and works for everyone involved. In order to do this, it can be wise to discuss parenting plan goals, questions and concerns with your attorney.

Consulting an attorney crucial before signing a prenup

Promising to love someone for the rest of your life is a serious decision that should not be made lightly. People are typically discouraged from rushing into marriage or getting married to someone they are not sure they love.

Taking big decisions seriously is advice that can apply in many scenarios. For example, these same words of wisdom can also apply to signing a prenuptial agreement. Before you sign this legal document, it can be crucial that you give yourself the time to review it and make sure it is something you understand and agree to. Failure to do this can have some upsetting consequences.

Signing a prenup without reading or understanding it can mean you are at risk of agreeing to something you normally wouldn’t. This can lead to costly concessions and unfavorable obligations that last long after the marriage. 

If you are not given enough time to review the document, make changes or negotiate different terms and you sign it anyway, the prenup could ultimately be considered invalid. In fact, not having read a prenup is one of the top 10 reasons a prenup can be deemed unenforceable.

As is the case with other legal agreements, there must be an indication that both parties were given the opportunity to consider a prenup and were not pressured into signing something they did not agree with. 

It should also be noted that each party should have their own attorney when signing a prenup. Failure to do this could also make a document unenforceable.

Considering all that may be at stake in these agreements, it is wise to give yourself (and your soon-to-be spouse) ample time to speak with an attorney and review and negotiate a prenup before getting married.

Too many people think that just blindly signing a prenup is sign of trust and faith in a relationship. But the truth is that these are legal documents and should not be approached on a strictly emotional level.