In the 1950s and 1960s, a
divorce in one’s senior or Golden Years was almost unheard of, but today,
it’s becoming more acceptable than ever before. If you’re
a Baby Boomer or senior, you can probably rattle off a number of older
couples who have divorced. If you live in a retirement community, it’s
probably filled with divorced individuals and couples who are on their
second and third marriages.
If you’re over the age of 55 and you’re considering a divorce,
join the club. According to a
study conducted by Susan L. Brown of Bowling Green State University, “The
divorce rate among adults aged 50 and older doubled between 1990 and 2010.
Roughly 1 in 4 divorces in 2010 occurred to persons aged 50 and older.”
If you’re approaching what’s been dubbed a “Gray Divorce,”
here’s what you need to know about divorcing in your senior years:
1. Alimony is common in long-term marriages.
If you’ve been married for at least 10 years and one of you is still
working, alimony or spousal support may play a role. In many cases, when
a marriage was of long duration and one spouse still works, spousal support
2. Your nest egg will probably be cut in half.
If most, if not all of your retirement savings was accumulated during
the course of the marriage, be aware that it’s about to be cut in
half. If you both have 401(k)s or IRAs and the balances are close, you
may agree to keep your own accounts, but trade other assets so you come
to a relatively fair settlement.
3. To keep the house, you’ll have to give something up.
You may be emotionally tied to the marital residence. Perhaps you raised
your kids in it. Perhaps you remodeled it and now the mortgage is paid
off. In any case, for you to keep this valuable asset, you’ll have
to give your spouse something else of similar value, such as a greater
share of the 401(k), a lower spousal support payment, or cash to make
up the difference.
4. Your adult children may be affected.
Your children may be in their 30s or 40s, but that doesn’t mean
they won’t be affected by the divorce. It isn’t uncommon for
senior parents to help support their adult children or even let them move
in with them. If you’re financially supporting your adult child,
you may not be able to afford it after the divorce. Or, if your adult
child’s family lives with you, they may have to find another place
to live if you have to sell the marital residence in the divorce.
5. If you remarry, get a prenuptial agreement.
If you are to remarry in your senior years, be sure to get a prenuptial
agreement the second time around. If you divorce your second spouse, you
could be forced to divide your retirement savings again, or you could
be ordered to pay spousal support. Also, if you have children from a previous
marriage, a prenuptial agreement can ensure that your children receive
certain assets instead of them going to your new husband or wife upon
6 Lessons Every Divorcing Couple Needs to Learn