Divorcing Later in Life
As more and more of the population have empty nests, they are looking forward to the next phase of their life. With longer life expectancies, many older adults are deciding to “wait out” an unhappy marriage, and are choosing to get divorced later in life. According to research, the divorce rate in the United States for people 50 and older is about twice the rate in the 1990s.
As many older adults are choosing to end their marriages and start over, it is important to consider some specific concerns for “gray divorce.” These divorcing spouses may be nearing retirement or may have health issues that can complicate a divorce in the later stages of life.
Retirement Accounts and Social Security Benefits
Spouses often work together to save for retirement and to qualify for benefits like Social Security. When you divorce on the brink of retirement, you will no longer get to benefit from 100 percent of your spouse’s savings. You want to ensure that you will be financially secure enough to enjoy your own retirement.
Retirement savings are marital property, which is divided equitably in Kansas. However, dividing up retirement accounts can be a complex task, and it may require a special court order called the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Your attorney can review your retirement accounts - and those of your spouse - and advise you whether you should be entitled to income after the divorce.
While a court cannot rule on Social Security, you should understand the benefits you should receive after divorce. If you were married for at least ten years and you are 62 years old or older, you have the right to collect benefits based on your spouse’s eligibility. You may also be entitled to survivor benefits after the death of your ex-spouse. This is critical for people who did not work during the marriage or who do not qualify for enough benefits on their own.
Property and Asset Division
As mentioned, Kansas law requires that divorcing spouses divide all marital property fairly and equitably. This includes large assets like a house, recreational vehicles, vacations properties, and more. For some people over age 50, keeping the house is important, especially if they may not have the individual income to qualify for another mortgage on their own. There are many other benefits to keeping a home when you are older, including:
● Qualifying for a reverse mortgage at age 62
● Age-based property tax exemptions and waivers
● Having equity if you choose to downsize
● Having a primary residence for the purpose of Medicaid and other public benefits
While older adults may not have to worry about child custody or child support determinations, other issues like retirement accounts and spousal support can still make a gray divorce challenging.
Learn about Your Options from a Gardner, KS Divorce Attorney
At Stockton & Stern, LLC, our Gardner divorce lawyers help clients facing divorce who are in many different situations, including those divorcing later in life. We work to get you the best possible outcome in your divorce, so please call 913-856-2828 orcontact us online for more information.