Divorce Over 50: What You Need to Know

"Gray Divorce" Statistics in the US

While US divorce rates are generally in decline, the rate for people over 50 has doubled since the 90s, and the rate for married couples 65 and older has tripled. According to the Pew Research Center, this increase is attributed to the fact that the "Baby Boomer" age group had unprecedented divorce rates in their early adulthood. Consequently, many are now remarried. Statistics show that remarriages tend to be less stable, and in 2015, 48% of divorcing couples over the age of 50 were in a second or higher marriage.

What Is the Most Common Age to Get Divorced?

Despite the increased divorce rate for couples over 50, the number of divorces in the lower age categories is still more than double the number of divorces for those over 50. The average age for divorce is around 30 years old, with the age group 25-39 being the most likely to get divorced. That being said, divorces in the 40-50 age group have seen a slight increase.

Things to Keep in Mind when Divorcing Later in Life

No matter the reason for a divorce, it is always painful and never easy. However, divorcing over 50 comes with some unique challenges and considerations. Some common challenges people experience when they divorce later in life include less financial security, difficulty re-entering the workforce, and social and emotional hardships. However, this does not mean you should stay in an unhappy marriage. With some

No matter why you are getting divorced, it is important that you are prepared for the process and that you secure trusted legal representation as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn more about the unique issues faced by people who divorce later in life.

The Importance of Understanding Your Finances

If you plan to get divorced or have already filed, you must get a complete sense of your finances. As part of the divorce process, you will need to create a complete inventory of all your assets. This includes all bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, and any property holdings. No matter if you were the one who managed the family finances, you should get access to all bank accounts, credit accounts, and other financial records.

A thorough and accurate account of all marital assets is necessary for the property division process and can help ensure that you receive a fair and equitable settlement. If you suspect your former spouse is hiding or has dissipated marital assets, reach out to your attorney for help. Hiding and dissipating assets during a divorce is illegal, and you can hold them accountable.

Understanding your finances is also important for your post-divorce life. After a divorce, your living expenses will likely double. It is important to understand what assets you currently have and what you will likely receive during the property division process. This can help you adequately prepare for your life post-divorce, and avoid the costly mistake of underestimating your living expenses.

Understand How Debt Division Works in Illinois

Illinois is an equitable distribution state. Many people erroneously believe that all marital property will be divided between the spouses in a 50/50 split. Instead, the courts will work to achieve a divorce settlement that is deemed fair and equitable to both parties. This does not always mean dividing debts in half.

As mentioned above, it is important that you have a thorough and accurate inventory of your assets, including all of your debts. Most debts and liabilities acquired during the marriage (such as credit card debt and mortgages) will be divided between both parties. Understanding how much you owe and what debt is likely to be considered shared debt is crucial to preparing for the property division process.

You should also make your attorney aware of any prenuptial or postnuptial marital agreements you and your former spouse may have. A legally valid marital agreement can have a significant impact on the property division process. For example, suppose you and your spouse agreed that one of you would be individually responsible for a specific debt. In that case, this can impact how your other property and debts are divided.

Understanding how property and debt division work in Illinois is a crucial step in preparing for your divorce and beyond. Many people do not appreciate how their assets will be split, and this can make your life post-divorce difficult.

Don't Forget About Health Insurance & Retirement

Many people get their health insurance through their spouse's job. After a divorce, you will likely lose this coverage and will need to purchase health insurance on your own. If you are 65 or older, you will be covered by Medicare. For those under 65, you may be able to get health insurance from your own employer if you are not yet retired. You can continue using your former spouse's coverage through COBRA, but this is only available for 36 months and will likely be significantly more expensive than it was before your divorce.

You should also look into how your retirement accounts are structured and how they will be affected by your divorce. Retirement accounts, even if they were opened before the marriage, are subject to property division. Typically, contributions made during the marriage, and any earnings made on those contributions, are considered marital property.

In some cases, you may be able to protect your retirement account with a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO). This order allows you to withdraw your share of your former spouse's retirement account (such as a 401k), without suffering the early withdrawal tax penalties, regardless of your age.

You Need an Experienced, Trusted Lawyer

Divorcing later in life can be an incredibly complicated process, and you should seek legal representation as soon as possible. Even if you haven't yet filed for divorce, speaking with an attorney can help you prepare for the process.

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