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Divorce After 50

Divorce is never easy, but for people who have built a life together over the course of decades, it can be especially complex. Couples who decide to divorce at this age often have significant assets such as property, retirement accounts, and other investments to consider. Meanwhile, they may also have children still at home to think about. 

The knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Kurtz & Blum have more than 50 years of combined experience handling these complicated cases. We can help you navigate this emotional process and decide how to best address the unique issues you are facing with your divorce. Our respected legal team has the resources and skills to advocate for your best interests and needs every step of the way. 

To schedule a time to discuss your case, please call our experienced Raleigh divorce lawyers or fill out our online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce After 50

The divorce rate for people over 50 doubled from 1990 to 2010, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. In one recent year, the overall “gray divorce” rate was 10.3 divorces per every 1,000 married women age 50 or older. 

These statistics can be alarming, as a sudden change in your financial situation at that age can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life. Here are some common questions people have about divorce after 50: 

Will my 401(K) and any other retirement assets be divided? 

The question of retirement assets is crucial in any divorce situation. Withdrawing money early from a 401(K) or other retirement account often means heavy tax penalties, which could leave both parties in the divorce hurting. 

In many cases, a separate court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order is needed to sort out who gets any retirement assets, how they are distributed, how best to avoid tax penalties, whether any benefits will be paid out when the former spouse dies, and so on.

Are my Social Security benefits impacted by divorce? 

Your Social Security benefits can’t be split up in a divorce, but there are rules surrounding Social Security that are relevant when thinking about your income after getting divorced. Usually, if your marriage lasted for at least 10 years, and you are 62 or older, you can collect benefits from your former spouse without reducing their benefits at all. If you fit those same qualifications and your former spouse passes away, you may be eligible to receive survivor’s benefits.

Will I have to pay alimony? 

Depending on your age, financial circumstances, reasons for your divorce, and so on, your divorce may end with your shared assets being divided, monthly alimony or maintenance payments, or both. (Alimony payments are permanent, while maintenance payments are temporary.) Alimony or maintenance payments are common when one spouse has been out of work for a while and may have difficulty finding a new career. 

However, when it comes to divorces over age 50, former spouses are more likely to die or become incapacitated, which may leave the person receiving alimony financially hamstrung. A life insurance policy for your former spouse with you as the beneficiary can mitigate these potential dangers.

What will happen to our home? 

The cost of maintaining it and paying taxes on your home may be a burden you can’t afford after divorce. Selling your home and moving into something that fits your new financial situation can save you a great deal of money. On the other hand, you can rent out all or part of your home for additional income. The right move for you depends on your unique situation, and a lawyer who has extensive experience handling divorces over age 50 can guide you in the right direction.

How does health insurance coverage work during a divorce? 

Unfortunately, there aren’t many great options if you were covered under your spouse’s health insurance policy and are now getting divorced. Those age 65 and older are eligible for Medicare, and you can apply for COBRA coverage to keep your former coverage for 36 months. However, COBRA coverage is often prohibitively expensive. If you are ineligible for Medicare, you may be eligible for a plan under the Affordable Care Act. During the separation process, you may negotiate an agreement with your spouse to stay on the coverage until the divorce is finalized.

What happens if I remarry after divorce? 

Whether anything will change in your financial situation if you remarry depends greatly on whether you’re the one making spousal or child support payments, or the one receiving them. Generally speaking, a spouse who is making payments is unlikely to see their situation change, while a spouse who is receiving payments may end up losing them. The details will depend greatly on the terms of your final divorce decree, and an attorney can help you make sense of your individual situation.

Differences with a Midlife Divorce

The main difference between getting divorced when you’re 30 and when you’re 50 or 60 is time. Getting divorced when you are older leaves you fewer years to earn money, build yourself a financial safety net, and find a way to live comfortably. Americans are living longer, but that also means we have to take care of ourselves for longer. So it is important that you agree on or fight for what you need to maintain your standard of living.

Starting Over After Divorce

Getting a divorce is a traumatic, exhausting experience at any age. It can take time to heal and get back on your feet. Our compassionate family law attorneys can recommend a wealth of resources, such as grief counselors and financial planners, to help support and guide you throughout this transition.

Contact the Respected Divorce Attorneys at Kurtz & Blum Today

At Kurtz & Blum, our compassionate, experienced family law attorneys can help you navigate the stressful process of getting a divorce after 50. We can walk you through your options and help you make the best decisions for your future. To schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable divorce lawyer, call our office or contact us online now.

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