Divorce after 50 can be financially devastating. The cost of living is considerably more when you’re single rather than when two of you share expenses, Expenses can be 40% to 50% higher than for couples on a per person basis, according to the American Academy of Actuaries. However, divorce among individuals of this age has doubled within the past 20+ years. Divorcing after 50 is sometimes referred to as a gray divorce. It has its own unique challenges since most married couples over the age of 50 have likely spent decades with each other. Here are a few of the issues individuals over 50 must consider if they are thinking of obtaining a divorce….
If Your Health Insurance Is Through Your Spouse
If your spouse’s policy has covered you, you may be in for a nasty—and expensive—surprise, especially if you divorce before Medicare kicks in at age 65. Basically, there are three options…
- Your employer can cover you
- You can sign up for your state’s health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act
- Continue to use your ex’s existing coverage through COBRA for up to 36 months, but the cost is likely to be substantially more than it was before the divorce.
If new, separate health insurance policies threaten to break the bank, you may want to consider a legal separation so you can keep your ex’s health insurance but separate your other assets.
Finances / Lifestyle Changes
Financial aspect of divorce can present some major hardships, especially since you are no longer in your prime income-earning years. You will have a division of 401K and IRA plans, if either or both of you have those assets. You’ll have to pay the standard 10% early withdrawal penalty to divide these funds. A qualified domestic relations order is a legal document you can sign that is typically found in a divorce agreement, it recognizes that a former spouse is entitled to receive a predefined portion of the other spouse’s individual retirement plan assets. You can use this plan to save 10%. Depending on the specific circumstances of your situation, a divorce might require to delay retirement or a drastic lifestyle change.
First time in a long time for being only responsible for yourself to make decisions based on what you want. From little decisions like what to hang on the wall of your house to bigger ones like where to travel and what kinds of projects to do on the house, is all up to you. That feels good but can also be overwhelming. At first, it can be really nerve-wracking and the dating world has changed. Dating can be energizing until it gets exhausting. It can be scary since you might not be used to being on your own. Remember that it is OK to ask for help. Talk to a close friend or consider therapy to vent your emotions.
No matter how much you’d like to help your kids, your priority is to ensure you have a healthy retirement income. When the income that once covered one set of household expenses is suddenly divided into two, you may have to make some changes to your spending to afford your daily and monthly expenses. Unlike younger couples struggling with child custody or child support, these problems no longer are on the table, but that does not mean you will not have to provide comfort and emotional or financial support to older sons and daughters.
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About Grubbs & Landry
At Grubbs & Landry, PLLC, we are dedicated to personal and friendly service. We manage our practice in an ethical, cost-effective manner to best help our clients resolve their legal issues with the least expense possible. We pride ourselves in advocating for our client in divorce, child custody, and child support matters as well as other family law matters. We are active in prosecuting personal injury cases-recovering for the injuries our clients sustain due to the negligence of others. Additionally, we help our clients prepare for the future through the preparation of Wills, Power of Attorney and Living Will.
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