One might think that divorce rates among older people are lower when compared to younger couples. While this may have been true in the past, these days one in four people over the age of 50 have experienced a divorce. While the causes of divorce, such as affairs, money woes, or just growing apart in general, are a factor for couples of all ages, grey divorces are often more complex for the following reasons.
Asset division is often more difficult
The longer a couple is together, the more intermingled their financial situations will be. As a result, it can be difficult for these couples to determine which assets are shared and which are separate. There are also challenges when it comes to the valuation of shared property, such as a family home. The final decision is ultimately up to the presiding judge, and each spouse must present compelling evidence to support their claim.
Decisions must be made regarding retirement benefits
Any money acquired during the course of a marriage, including retirement benefits, is usually considered shared. That means spouses must come to terms over how this money is to be split, which can prevent added fees and penalties levied on retirement accounts for early withdrawal. The same decisions need to be made about other types of income, including pensions and Social Security benefits. These calculations are especially complicated when one spouse relies on the other financial support and has for a large portion of the marriage.
One spouse may lose his or her health insurance
Another challenge associated with grey divorces is health insurance coverage. If one spouse receives coverage through the other’s employer, there is no legal remedy to order that coverage continue after the divorce is finalized. In some cases, it may be possible for the spouse without coverage to negotiate for a greater share of marital assets to make up for the lack of health insurance. However, this is largely left to the discretion of the judge.