You expected it to be an ideal marriage. And it was for a while. You and your spouse survived the challenges faced by any young couple but worked hard and prevailed. You bought a house, where you raised your children as each of you established your careers.
But now, after decades of marriage, you find yourself living in the same house with someone who seems like a stranger at times. The slow decay that sets in leads to the demise of your marriage. You are not alone among people who are 50 or older when seeking a divorce.
Challenges on the way toward independence
The divorce rate for people 50 and older doubled from 1990 to 2015, according to the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. And, just as surprising, the divorce rate actually tripled during the same period for people who are 65 and older.
As an older person going through divorce, you have many concerns. Here some issues that require attention:
- Financial challenges: The lifestyle to which you were so accustomed will disappear. Employment opportunities and sources of income may erode after turning 50. Your retirement investments also will take a hit. Understand your financial needs and do your best to secure them.
- Thoroughly review your finances: Gather the financial documents and titles related to your marital assets. You want proof of ownership of your home, condo, vacation property, retirement investments and valuables. Doing so will provide a general idea of your rightful assets. And look for hidden assets in your tax returns. Do not concede anything.
- Health insurance: Once you are divorced, you likely will no longer have access to health care insurance from your spouse’s employer. Medicare may not be an option yet due to your age. However, Explore other options such as benefits through the Affordable Care Act. And if you gain full-time employment, seek health insurance through your employer.
- The children: If your children are minors, fight for the child support you deserve. But, most likely, you may have adult children in college. Will the divorce affect how they will pay for their education? Possibly. Make sure that paying for college costs is a part of divorce negotiations.
There will be more changes faced as an older divorced person. Remember, though, that preparation is key on your way toward independence.
Accomplishment within your grasp
It is now time to accept your new life, address all your concerns related to the changes and carry on. You understand that it will not be easy, but with insight from trusted people and guidance from an experienced and empathetic divorce attorney, you can accomplish things you did not think you were able to do.