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

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