2 Important Things To Consider When Filing For A Late-Life Divorce

The American public is bombarded by statistics regarding divorce on a seemingly daily basis. While we know that many marriages end in divorce, few people take the time to realize that as of 2011, 15.4% of people over the age of 50 were divorced.

These "gray divorcees" face special challenges when it comes to dissolving their marriages, and here are 2 things that should be given special consideration if you ever find the need to divorce after you reach your 50s.

1. Breaking the news to your adult children.

Most people know that divorce can significantly impact small children, but what happens when you tell your adult children that you have decided to end your marriage? The biggest mistake that couples who divorce after the age of 50 make is failing to tell their adult children about the split in an appropriate manner. To help ease the impact your impending divorce will have on your kids, be sure that you keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep it personal. You would never think to tell young children about a divorce over the telephone, and your adult children deserve the same courtesy. By telling your children in person, you give them the opportunity to ask questions. Breaking the news face-to-face also shows that you value and respect your children, which might make the impending divorce a little easier to process.  
  • Don't point fingers. It can be tempting to give adult children reasons why your marriage is no longer working, but doing so could cause a strained relationship between your children and your spouse. Rather than focusing on the reasons why you have decided to divorce, you and your spouse should focus on helping your children understand how this decision will impact their lives.

2. Planning for your financial future.

Studies show that older divorced individuals only have a fifth of the wealth that married couples in their same age bracket have acquired. This lack of financial security can be cause for concern if you are choosing to end your marriage after the age of 50. To ensure that you are prepared to deal with the financial backlash of a divorce, be sure that you address the following issues:

  • Cash flow- You may still be entitled to receive social security or retirement benefits from your spouse's account. Factors like the length of your marriage and your individual financial status may be used to help determine if a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, granting you access to financial assistance through your spouse's social security or retirement account, can be issued on your behalf.   
  • Liabilities- It is important to sit down with your spouse and determine your financial liabilities prior to divorce. Once you know how much you owe creditors, you can determine how to divide these liabilities equitably. Many people choose to sell assets, like a home or vehicle, to reduce their financial liabilities.

Getting a divorce isn't easy at any stage of life. Those who choose to divorce after reaching their 50s face unique challenges that must be accounted for. Taking the time to learn about the unique challenges you will face when going through a "gray divorce" will help you better prepare for the divorce process in the future. Contact Blumenauer Hackworth if you require a divorce lawyer.