Leaving a marriage is hard at any age and at any stage in life. But when you and your spouse decide to split up later in life, there are unique challenges that may occur. Gray divorce can leave many separating couples facing challenging legal complications that may be unexpected. From practical issues to financial complications, there are many elements to consider when going through a divorce later in life.
Elements of Gray Divorce in PA
Gray divorce refers to those divorces involving spouses over age 50 — oftentimes, these are members of the Baby Boomer generation. While divorce has nationally trended downwards, as many individuals are getting married later in life, older couples who divorce have repeatedly increased over the years.
There are a variety of reasons why a gray divorce seems to occur. The most common reasons include:
- Multiple marriages and breakups are common within the Baby Boomer generation
- Many couples decide to wait to divorce until their children are grown and out on their own
- After children leave, many older couples find that their marriage is no longer strong
- Lifestyle changes resulting from life changes like retirement exemplify that interests are no longer shared
- Financial stability to separate is not plausible until the couple has achieved certain milestones in life
- Unsatisfied with the trajectory of marriage and life together
Remember, divorce can happen at any stage of life, to any couple. So common factors of divorce are also at play including:
- Prison Sentence
- Institutionalization of one partner
- Mutual consent
- The belief that the marriage is irretrievably broken
Impacts and Issues to Consider
As in any divorce, there are many elements to consider when making such a drastic life change. Not only is it the emotional strains that occur, but the financial implications that come with age.
Some of the most common issues that impact a gray divorce include:
- Retirement: Retirement assets may need to be divided and you still may need to pay alimony.
- Social Security: Though Social Security won’t be divided up at the trial, the number of benefits received may change if you go through a divorce. Though the lesser income-earning spouse will likely receive benefits because of the earnings of the other spouse, this can be greatly challenged if one spouse remarried after the divorce was finalized.
- Income and Spousal Support: Just like a divorce earlier in life, one spouse may be entitled to support payments, based upon earning potential and current income.
- Insurance: Couples who split before qualifying for Medicare need to consider the costs of market insurance before the divorce.
- Competency: As individuals age, there may be concerns about competency in the divorce proceeding. If that is a real issue, the parties should confer with an attorney before the divorce process moves too far.
- Estate Planning: Chances are, you and your spouse have already drawn up estate planning documents to prepare for the unexpected. But when you divorce, these things will change. It’s important to review your estate planning documents before and after the divorce is finalized to ensure you update them to reflect your new marital situation.
- Long-Term Care: It’s no secret that long-term care is an expensive portion of planning for the future. It is estimated that to stay in a semi-private space, it costs more than $9,500 per month. It’s over $10,000 a month for a private space. Knowing your living arrangements if you cannot take care of yourself should be considered.
Division Of Assets In Gray Divorce
In Pennsylvania, it doesn’t matter if the divorcing spouses are in their 50s or are in their early 20s. Should the parties be unable to agree on how to split their marital assets and tackle debt division, the court will make decisions based on an “equitable distribution” model. Rather, the court considers a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- The length of the marriage
- Any prior marriage of either party
- Whether either party contributed to the increased earning potential of the other
- Each party’s income and his or her ability to rebuild assets and income in the future
- The value of the property set apart to each party
- The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
- The federal, state, and local tax ramifications associated with each asset to be divided, distributed, or assigned
- The expense of sale, transfer, or liquidation associated with a particular asset
- The custodial responsibilities of both parties after the divorce
While these factors do not change in gray divorce, the assets the couple has accumulated may be larger, meaning extra navigation and preparedness needs to be taken.
Navigating Your Future After a Gray Divorce: Kalinoski Law Offices Is Here For You
Going through a divorce is never easy. But when you reach a certain age, it becomes even more complicated. Though you may not have children to contend with as they have already moved into their own family homes, there are serious financial considerations to make when it comes to a gray divorce.
Don’t navigate it alone. Kalinoski Law Offices is here to help you in your NEPA gray divorce and ensure your post-divorce life is one of growth. Contact the Scranton family law attorney, Craig Kalinoski, today.