When a marriage ends in divorce, it usually happens sooner rather than later. In fact, the average length of a marriage ending in divorce is 8 years. The average age of divorcees is 30 years old. While divorce is hard for everyone regardless of age, it can be especially difficult for those who have been together for a long time and who are elderly.
Not only is there more time, emotions, and memories involved, but it’s likely your personal belongings, finances, and assets are very intertwined.
Rather than relying on active income, you may be living on retirement and other benefits.
Simply put, divorces that occur after many years of marriage (often called “gray divorces”) are complex. And they’re on the rise.
Between 1990 and 2015, the divorce rate for people over 65 tripled.
If you are going through a gray divorce, here are a few things you should be aware of.
The longer you’ve been married and the older you are, the more likely it is that some amount of alimony will be paid. Though some think alimony is a guarantee in divorces where one spouse is dependent on the other, this isn’t always the case.
That said, when it comes to gray divorces, it is highly likely. Of course, if you’re retired, that can change things.
Rather than making some form of regular monthly payment, retirement savings will likely be split up during the divorce. However, what was enough for two people living together might not be enough for two people living apart.
You may suddenly find yourself in need of additional income.
If you’re not old enough for Medicare, and you live off of your spouse’s insurance, you’ll have to find your own option. This can be very costly for the elderly, even if you stay on your spouse’s insurance through COBRA. You can remain on COBRA for up to 36 months.
The Home is a Big Deal
In most elderly couples, a home will be owned and shared between the two. There may even be multiple properties. This property will likely carry a significant value. That means if you end up getting the house, you’ll likely sacrifice other assets, and visa versa.
Avoid Dating Until the Divorce is Final
Most people who go through a divorce are eager to move on with their lives. This often involves dating again. While this is perfectly natural, you should wait until the divorce is finalized. This is not just for gray divorces, but all divorces.
Bringing an external relationship into the divorce proceedings can make things even more complicated.
If you and your spouse have discussed divorce but want to gives things another try first, you may consider a post-nuptial agreement. This will set the terms and division of assets, should you eventually decide to get divorced.
It may seem strange, but a post-nuptial agreement can remove a lot of the stress and pain from a divorce. There’s also no guarantee it will actually be used.
Get a Lawyer
As soon as divorce becomes a possibility, even if you’re hoping it doesn’t come to it, you should contact a lawyer. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide you with guidance and insight, preparing you for all of the possibilities ahead.
For a trustworthy divorce attorney in Springfield, Ohio, contact the offices of Michael T. Edwards. We’ll ensure you’re taken care of and prepared for the future ahead.