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Gray divorce doesn’t have to ruin retirement

You spent your working years saving for retirement, and you do not want anything to compromise those years of hard work. So, does that mean you have to stay in an unhappy marriage just to preserve your finances? Luckily, no. While you will face a few additional challenges during a gray divorce, you can still come out on the other side, confident in your financial situation.

You might even feel better knowing that late-in-life divorce is nowhere near as uncommon as it used to be. The Pew Research Center reports that, since 1990, divorce has decreased among almost all age groups. The biggest exception is when it comes to divorce after 50 — also called gray divorce — which has actually doubled. Divorce among adults over the age of 65 has actually tripled.

Is money the problem?

As someone who is near or even in retirement, money is probably one of your primary concerns during divorce. But was it also one of your biggest worries during marriage? If so, you are certainly not alone. Finances are one of the most common factors in gray divorce.

Your financial differences may not have started recently, though. Like many other men and women, you might have stuck out decades of marriage despite obviously different attitudes toward money. However, in all likelihood, you both still have several decades ahead of you, and outliving your assets is a real problem. Staying married to someone who spends recklessly can make your life’s savings disappear far too quickly.

Can I get alimony if I’m retired?

Alimony is not just for younger couples in Illinois who are still raising kids at home. Regardless of age, alimony can be an essential lifeline, helping you stay afloat. The big difference is how long a support order actually lasts. For younger couples, alimony may end after only a few years. In your situation, you might receive alimony for the rest of your life.

You may also qualify for Social Security benefits based on your ex’s working history, even if you yourself did not work. To do so, you must be at least 62 years of age and you must have been married for 10 or more years. Also, if you did work at some point, your own benefits have to be less than your ex spouse’s.

What about my retirement?

Unless you have a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise, it is true that you will probably have to divide your retirement savings during your divorce. It will not necessarily split evenly down the middle, either. You and your ex will each keep a portion of your retirement assets that is most fair, which could possibly be an equal divide, but may also look closer to a 60/40 split.

Retirement is not the end of life, and for many people, it is actually a period of renewal and discovery. While it is understandable that you have financial concerns, those worries should not make you feel trapped in an unhappy marriage. If you are ready to move forward with this new season of life, you should work alongside an experienced attorney who is familiar with the issues you will encounter during a gray divorce.