If you are over 50, going through a divorce presents several different issues than it does for younger couples. Although you likely would not have to worry about child support, there are several other issues that are raised. Some of the more important issues present in divorces later in life include:
1. Retirement accounts
Retirement accounts, such as pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s, are divided in a divorce, regardless of whether they are in pay status. However, if any accounts are in pay status, how they are divided may depend on several factors.
Put simply, the longer the marriage, the more likely that alimony (or spousal maintenance) may be an issue. This is especially the case if one spouse stopped working to raise a child or is unable to become self-supporting.
Although child custody and support are issues not present in most divorces involving older couples, they may be an issue if you are still providing support to an adult child or if your child still lives in your home. If so, this issue will need to be addressed when deciding how to divide the marital property.
4. Social Security benefits
In general, Social Security benefits are not subject to property division. However, in some cases, they may need to be addressed during the divorce. For example, this may be the case if one spouse is entitled to collect benefits after the divorce on the other’s Social Security account.
5. Estate plans
Many older couples have done at least some estate planning. Accordingly, during a divorce, it is important to revise wills, trusts, life insurance policies, and other documents to ensure each spouse’s assets are passed down according to their wishes.
An attorney can help
Since effectively resolving these issues can be a complex process, it is important to consult a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that it is done correctly. The attorneys at LaRocca Hornik Rosen Greenberg & Patti LLC can consider your situation and ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the process.