What Do I Need to Know When Getting a Divorce Over the Age of 50?
Some groups in the United States have experienced a drop in divorce rates. However, that is not true for older Americans. According to the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people divorcing after the age of 50—commonly known as gray divorce—has just about doubled since 1990. Gray divorce has become increasingly more common for a few different reasons. For example, divorce has lost much of the stigma it carried years ago, and people are living longer and are not willing to stay in unfulfilling marriages.
Gray divorces often include a variety of unique financial considerations and legal issues that may not have the same importance for younger divorcing couples. Some people may worry that they will not have enough money to retire when they originally planned to. Other people may be concerned with what happens to the assets that they have accumulated throughout their years of marriage. Understanding these issues and how to deal with them is the key to a successful gray divorce.
In Illinois, spousal maintenance is never guaranteed in any divorce. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to ensure that both spouses are able to provide for themselves and enjoy the same or similar lifestyle that they enjoyed during the marriage. For long-term marriages, it is likely that the judge will award spousal maintenance, especially if one of the spouses sacrificed their education or career to devote time to domestic duties. For a marriage lasting 20 or more years, the length of time spousal maintenance will be paid can be equal to the length of the marriage or for an indefinite term.
Determining who will keep which assets can be a big issue for many divorcing couples, but those who have been together for a long time may have a more difficult time dividing their marital property. Older couples may also have marital assets that younger couples do not have, such as investment accounts, multiple cars or boats, or even multiple real estate properties. Retirement assets are also a part of the property division process, but they can pose even more challenges.
Illinois law states that pension benefits, individual retirement accounts, and non-qualified plans that were acquired by or participated in by either spouse during the marriage are considered to be marital property. This means these assets must be split between spouses during divorce. The most common and beneficial way of doing this is by using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is a legal document that defines the right of another individual to receive all or a portion of the funds in certain types of qualified retirement accounts. It allows for the transfer of these funds without incurring penalties or taxes for early withdrawal.
A Kane County Gray Divorce Attorney Can Ease Your Worries
Unless you were married later in life, getting a divorce when you are over the age of 50 means you are probably ending a marriage that lasted for decades. While this is never emotionally easy, it is often not easy on the financial side of things either. At MKFM Law, we can help you make sure you are getting everything you deserve out of your divorce. Our knowledgeable St. Charles divorce lawyers have many decades of combined experience handling family law cases, and we understand the best ways to deal with the unique issues involved in a gray divorce. To schedule a consultation, call our office at 630-635-7300 today.