So-called "gray" divorces, those between spouses over 50 years of age, now make up one-quarter of all divorce filings in the United States, including Illinois. The percentage of older divorcing couples is expected to rise in the future. For older spouses, divorce mediation may provide a way for the partners to protect their own interests and still reach an equitable agreement.
When couples divorce at older ages, the financial questions raised by the settlement process are usually not the same as those faced by younger couples. Young couples are often concerned with questions of child support and custody and equitable distribution of debt. Older couples are usually more concerned with distributing retirement funds and having enough to take them through the years ahead when they will not be working. Because these couples may not have time to recover from financial setbacks, they must be sure that they make wise decisions regarding asset division.
Older divorcing spouses should also think about how beneficiaries will be designated for pensions and life insurance policies. Failure to attend to these details could result in the former spouse suddenly acquiring funds that were meant for children or subsequent spouses. In many marriages, one spouse is the financial "expert" and handles all financial matters. If this is the case, the other spouse will need to learn about the assets available and how they are managed.
When faced with an impending separation and divorce, couples of all ages may benefit by consulting a family law attorney. These lawyers may be able to help by giving much-needed advice to those who are considering separation, no matter how long the partners have been married or how many assets they may have accumulated.
Source: Huffington Post, "Tips for going through a gray divorce," Howard Hook, March 7, 2013