If you are over 50 and considering divorce after retirement, you face some unique circumstances that younger divorcing couples do not. That’s why it’s important that you work with a central-Florida divorce attorney who has experience representing senior citizens, retirees, and people approaching retirement.
First, know that you're not alone. A recent study by Bowling Green State University researchers coined the term "gray divorce" and noted that the divorce rate for people over 50 has doubled between 1990 and 2010.
Second, it’s important that you give careful thought and consideration to how divorce will impact your financial situation, your retirement plan, and your family life. At The Law Office of Jody L. Fisher, my team and I will help you assess your situation, and will give you the skilled and experienced legal representation that you need.
For younger couples who have years of earning potential ahead of them, alimony may not always be a factor in a divorce. But for Florida retirees who have been married for 10, 20, 30 years, or more, it’s almost guaranteed that alimony payments will be a consideration. Especially when one spouse stayed home to raise children and run the household, a court will almost always order alimony payments, sometimes for life.
If you are considering divorce later in life, be prepared for your retirement savings to be cut in half. When you retired, it looked like you had plenty of money to to make it through your golden years. After a divorce, that amount will be cut in half, and may no longer look like enough. This is especially true now that the same amount of money will be used to cover the expenses for two households.
It’s also important to understand the tax consequences of your divorce. Money taken from a retirement account, like a 401(k) or 403(b), will be taxed. Many retirees don’t plan for these tax consequences and find themselves with even less money for retirement than they anticipated.
For older couples seeking a divorce, it’s important to consider services that may have been performed by the other spouse. For example, will one spouse need to pay for in-home nursing care or housekeeping services that were performed by the other spouse? Will transportation needs and costs increase? This is especially important if the other spouse did most of the driving.
It’s important to perform a careful inventory of your needs and anticipated additional expenses that will be incurred when you become a single person, including needs that may evolve as you age.
The House Isn’t Always a Wise Investment
Many people have a sentimental attachment to their home. While that's completely understandable, keeping the house in a divorce isn't always a wise choice. If you do choose to keep the house, it’s likely that you’ll have to give something else up. You may receive reduced alimony payments, or trade a share of the pension in order to keep the house. Many times, keeping the house isn’t a sound investment decision. Therefore, it’s often best to consider the house as an asset to be divided.
Adult Children and Divorce
For divorcing seniors, children are less of an issue as custody disputes and visitation orders are usually not a factor. But that doesn’t mean that adult children aren’t a consideration in divorce proceedings.
Many parents provide financial support for their adult children. Unless the adult children are in school or have a disability, they won’t formally factor into the divorce proceedings. However, divorcees may find themselves in the difficult position of needing to decide whether and how to continue assisting their adult children with diminished assets.
Also recognize that adult children will still have an emotional reaction to the divorce. If people seem to be adjusting, there is no reason to over-share. But parents shouldn’t feel the need keep the reasons for their divorce a secret.
Don’t Be Bitter – But You Don’t Need to Be Their Best Friend
There is no benefit to having a contentious divorce. But that doesn’t mean you need to be an open book, either. In fact, sharing feelings about a prized possession or desired assets could give your soon-to-be ex spouse valuable information that could be used in negotiations to your detriment.
The best advice is to keep it business-like. There’s no reason to be unnecessarily contentious, but you don’t want to give away the farm, either.
Considering Divorce in Central-Florida? Contact The Law Office of Jody L. Fisher Today
If you have questions about divorce in central-Florida, or if you are a resident of "The Villages" and need divorce advice, contact The Law Office of Jody L. Fisher today for a consultation. Call (352) 503-4111, email, or complete our online information form.