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Divorce During Your Senior Years

October 14, 2016 | Posted In Family Law

According to US News, divorcing as a senior citizen is becoming increasingly common.  Between 1990 and 2010, the divorce rate for people 50 years of age or older doubled.  Of the seniors getting divorced, 48 percent were ending their first marriages. For those who were already on second or subsequent marriages, the divorce rate was higher.

With more seniors divorcing, it is important for older couples to understand the unique issues that can arise after a long marriage. Seniors typically have more property and other complex issues that can make divorce more challenging during the golden years. Those who are older and ending their marriage should strongly consider getting help from a New Jersey family law attorney who can help them address the issues that matter in their divorce.

What You Need to Know About Divorce as a Senior

If you divorce as a senior, there are a few key things to be aware of:

  • Spousal support or alimony is much more common after a long marriage. While alimony has become less common and tends to be awarded temporarily to people who divorce when they are young and married for only for a brief time, long-term alimony is more likely to become an issue in senior divorces. Income and earning potential are much more entrenched by the time someone is older, so it makes sense that a lower-earning spouse is likely going to need more alimony when getting divorced towards the end of his or her working life.
  • Retirement money needs to be shared. New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, which means marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily evenly. Retirement assets are typically considered marital property, which means each spouse is likely going to get a share of pensions, 401k accounts and other retirement accounts.
  • Keeping the house can be costly. If you want to keep your home, you will likely have to give up something else to your ex in order to balance out the division of property and make things fair. It can be harder to keep up with costs of home ownership once you are down to one income, so consider the long-term expenses when deciding what to do with a family home.
  • Kids can still be an issue. Although your children may be older if you divorce as a senior, divorce can still be hard on teens and young adults.  You may also need to address issues in your divorce settlement, like how you and your ex will pay for those children who remain in school or are attending college.

These are a few of the key things to think about as your marriage comes to an end as a senior. You also need to address the division of all the rest of your marital property, and you should consider the tax issues that can arise when taking money out of retirement accounts that come with tax perks. The attorneys at Helmer, Conley, and Kasselman, P.A. are prepared to provide advice to seniors whose marriages are coming to an end. Contact our office today to discuss your situation.

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