Divorce rates have gone down since the 1980s, with one notable exception. The so-called grey divorce trend among couples 55 years old and above continues to increase. While younger couples worry about custody, child support and dividing assets, older couples often have adult children. Instead, older couples’ primary concern is often financial issues.
Couples need a new plan
The couple’s goal should be a fair and equitable split of the assets, but they need to be especially cautious about negotiations. Every divorce is different, but some common reasons include:
- Estate planning: Decisions were based on the couple staying together, so that plan must address twice the overhead of operating two homes during retirement. There may be wills to change, trusts to manage, and other matters to alter.
- Retirement planning: The couple will need to divide various IRAs, insurance policies, investments, savings accounts, and other assets in a way that minimizes penalties and taxation for early withdrawals.
- Earning potential: One or both spouses may currently be at the top of their earning potential, but that window may soon be closed or extended to rebuild the nest egg.
- Careers: It is more common for one spouse to be the breadwinner, which means the other spouse may have a certain living standard but limited means for earning income.
- Healthcare: There is an increased likelihood or reality of health challenges that can complicate matters until they qualify for Medicare and Medicaid.
There may be other unique issues
A business owner may be involved in the divorce, which could mean dividing or even selling the business when they do not want to do it. Another matter is the family home – the house may have provided plenty of room to raise a family and host gatherings, but it may have a significant tax burden or cost a lot to maintain even if there is no mortgage.
The right attorney can be an asset
Some family law attorneys have become skilled at handling grey divorce, particularly if they also do the family’s estate planning or business services. This unique background can help minimize unnecessary expenses and find creative solutions to complicated financial matters.