You may be surprised to learn that, although the overall divorce rate is declining, divorce among spouses over age 50 has been climbing rapidly. More and more older couples are getting divorced. The reasons that couples in their 50s, 60s, or 70s get divorced are just as varied as the reasons these couples got married in the first place. However, one thing is certain: Divorce is much more complicated when spouses are older.
If you are over age 50 and planning to end your marriage, make sure you understand the unique financial, legal, and emotional challenges you are likely to face. Consider working with a divorce attorney who has experience handling divorce cases involving older adults.
Property Issues in a Gray Divorce
So-called “gray divorce” is rising in the United States. Couples involved in a great divorce often run into difficulties that younger couples do not have to worry about. Older couples generally have a greater amount of assets, including real estate, investments, and retirement accounts. Determining how to value and divide shared property during a gray divorce can be complex.
Retirement Assets and Social Security
Many people have questions about how retirement savings are dealt with during an Illinois divorce. In general, retirement assets are handled just as any other type of asset. Retirement funds that a spouse earned while he or she was married are considered part of the marital state. This means that both spouses have a right to a share of these funds. Retirement assets that were earned before a spouse was married belong solely to that spouse.
In many cases, a qualified domestic relations order or QDRO is used to distribute retirement funds to divorced spouses. As you may already be aware, early disbursement of retirement assets can incur significant penalties and tax-related consequences. It is important to work with a divorce attorney who can help you address retirement assets in a way that does not incur avoidable penalties.
Older spouses are often worried about how to make ends meet without the other spouse’s financial support. Fortunately, a spouse may be entitled to claim retirement benefits through Social Security based on their ex-spouse’s employment record. If you have been married at least 10 years and you are 62 years or older, you may still be entitled to Social Security through your spouse, even if you are divorced.
Spousal Support May Be a Crucial Factor
Spousal support or alimony is sometimes awarded in an Illinois divorce case involving a discrepancy in income. If one spouse makes much more money than the other, the higher-earning spouse may be required to pay maintenance to the lower-earning spouse. In the vast majority of cases, spousal maintenance is awarded for a set period of time. However, in marriages lasting 20 years or longer, the court may award permanent spousal maintenance.
Contact our Hinsdale Divorce Lawyers
If you are getting divorced and you are over age 50, contact our DuPage County divorce attorneys for skilled legal advocacy and support throughout your case. Call 630-920-8855 and set up a free initial consultation.
Led by Baby Boomers, divorce rates climb for America’s 50+ population