Archive for the ‘Gray Divorce’ Category

Older Couples Must Contend with Special Challenges in Divorce

April 22nd, 2015 at 5:48 pm

older divorce, older couple, Illinois divorce lawyerFor married couples with partners under the age of 50, the good news is that the U.S. divorce rate has been steadily decreasing since the 1980s. For couples who have passed the age 50 milestone, the bad news is that the divorce rate for their demographic is at its highest level ever. Recently, a recent study found that among divorcing couples over the age of 50, two-thirds of the divorce proceedings are initiated by the wife.

Societal Shifts and Longer Lifespans

Members of the Baby Boomer generation are divorcing at higher rates for a variety of social, cultural, and health related reasons. Compared to previous generations, divorce has simply become more common and more socially acceptable. Another reason is connected to longer lifespans. At age 50 or 60, many people are planning for a lengthy retirement and want to prioritize enjoying the last twenty to forty years of their life. This can result in them evaluating relationships with a more critical eye than people in generations past.

Increased Risk for Complicated and Litigious Divorces for Older Couples

When older couples initiate divorce proceedings, the size of their estate and issues surrounding retirement planning, accounts, and healthcare all may cause the process to be complicated and potentially very expensive. If the couple is not in agreement or able to work together with their attorneys to negotiate successfully, they are at risk for a litigious divorce proceeding. For older couples, this can be a dangerous scenario for people who are over 50 because, typically, their prime earning years are behind them. They simply will not have the ability or the opportunity to replace a great deal of the money spent on a protracted divorce.

Complex Estate and Retirement Issues

The issues of estate division involving retirement and pension plans, home equity, health insurance, and social security benefits all become critical and nuanced for couples over age 50. In many cases, the couples’ retirement planning was done under the assumption that they would be living as a married couple. In such cases it is not uncommon for the couple to discover that if they were to divide the estate, they simply don’t have enough assets for each spouse to afford retirement on their own.

Retirement accounts such as pension plans, 401(k) plans and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are generally regarded as marital property in a divorce. In addition to state divorce laws, there are federal guidelines that mandate how certain retirement plans are redistributed in divorce. Often times this will require specific types of orders to be entered to divide the accounts and it is important to have an experienced attorney  negotiate and draft these orders to ensure that your interests are protected.

If you are a member of the Baby Boomer generation who is considering a divorce, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced Chicago family law attorney at Anderson & Associates, P.C. to review your options. We are easily accessible at five convenient locations including offices in Wheaton, Orland Park, Northbrook, Schaumburg, and downtown Chicago. Please call 312-345-9999 to schedule your complimentary consultation today. We look forward to speaking with you.