In this day and age, late-life divorces are becoming more common than ever before. All over the country, couples over the age of 50 are filing for divorce and leading happy post-marriage lives. Compared to decades ago, it is now far easier to gain a fresh start and thrive after a late-life divorce.
But if you are considering a late-life divorce, you might still have some concerns. You might be wondering: In what ways will my life change? WIll my finances and living situation deteriorate?
Those are valid concerns. Because retirement is often right on the horizon, maintaining your financial security and stability are essential when negotiating the terms of a divorce. A mismanaged divorce can lead to financial difficulties that are much harder to recover from in later life. If you don't get what you need from a divorce agreement, it will be difficult to maintain a quality standard of living.
7 Key Facts You Should Know About Divorce after 50
We understand that thinking about the possible complications of divorce can be extremely stressful and overwhelming. However, you have options. You don't have to let your worries stop you from living your life the way you wish to. Taking the right steps and being informed can make all the difference in the world.
Below, we'll discuss seven key pieces of information which can help you successfully navigate a divorce and jumpstart your newly single life.
1. Living Expenses Will Increase After a Late-Life Divorce
Following a divorce, it's completely normal to notice that your living expenses are higher than before. That is because typically, the cost of living is higher when you are single, compared to when you are splitting essential expenditures with a spouse.
Whether you are keeping your residence or moving into a new one, you will most likely have the responsibility of paying full mortgage, rent, or property taxes instead of sharing the cost. The same goes for utilities and a handful of other expenses.
The possibility of higher living expenses might raise the issue of how you will maintain your standard of living after a divorce, especially if you are looking to retire soon or not actively employed. However, there are steps you can take to secure a good divorce agreement, achieve financial stability, and start off your single life on the right foot.
2. Retirement Benefits Can be Split in a Divorce
Dividing retirement benefits or plans can be complicated in a late-life divorce. In some cases, you may need a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) which acknowledges joint ownership and interest in retirement plans. In Illinois, courts often require a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO).
Pension plans, social security benefits, and other retirement plans are all reliable streams of income, and they can go a long way in helping you meet your financial needs after retirement. Out of all the assets you can get from a divorce, retirement benefits are perhaps one of the most essential.
3. Maintenance is Common
It can be difficult to find a well-paying job after being unemployed for many years, which is often the case in marriages where one spouse does not work. That's why, in most late-life divorces, a working spouse is required to pay maintenance if the other spouse is unemployed or has a lower income.
Along with social security and pensions, maintenance can provide you with a steady source of income to cover living expenses. How far it will stretch depends on your individual situation and other factors, including the total amount of marital assets you receive, whether you are employed, and whether you are keeping your residence.
In cases where maintenance is involved, an experienced divorce lawyer can help you negotiate a more favorable judgment.
4. You Should Try to Pay Off Your Debts
Unpaid joint debts from marriage can get tricky after a divorce if your ex-spouse doesn't pay as agreed upon during the divorce process. If your name is listed in the account, creditors can still seek payment from you despite what was specified in your divorce agreement. In cases where your ex-spouse files for bankruptcy or drops the ball on paying, you could potentially be held responsible for their portion.
To avoid any situation like this from happening, you should take care of joint debts to the best of your ability prior to finalizing a divorce. One way to do so is by paying off debt together with your spouse if you are on civil terms. If not, it can be a good idea to take out individual accounts and split the debt, so you are held responsible for only your account.
5. You Have Less Time to Play Catch-Up
Because late-life divorces take place closer to retirement age, you have less time to manage any arising obstacles before you reach the age when you wish to retire. These obstacles can include outstanding debt or fees, low retirement funds, and paying for the costs of post-divorce life. Having to pay for a divorce, purchase a new residence, or finish paying off marital debts can drain from your retirement savings, and you'll have fewer years to rebuild your savings after a late-life divorce.
However, you shouldn't allow these potential obstacles to discourage you from seeking a late-life divorce if you want one. One of the most common ways many individuals successfully rebuild their retirement savings is by working just a few additional years than originally planned. Which brings us to our next point...
6. There Are Benefits to Delaying Retirement
While it is not a necessity, many people who divorce in late-life end up choosing to work a few extra years to financially recover from divorce and better prepare for retirement. Just the salary of two or three years alone can make an immense difference in your financial situation and give you a significantly more comfortable retirement. Depending on your case, a few extra years might be all you'll need.
Aside from saving more money, working longer can also give you the time you need to pay off outstanding debt or settle other financial matters. The benefits of working longer may vary depending on your situation, but in many cases, there is a major financial advantage to working an extra year or two.
7. A Lawyer Can Get You A Better Deal
Regardless of age, if you are getting divorced, it is ideal to get the process done quickly, efficiently, and to get the best deal possible. You don't want to spend more money and time than necessary to finalize a divorce, but you also do not want to give up on any important terms just so you can finish the process quickly. Having trustworthy legal representation can ensure that you will get a better deal without getting boggled down in the divorce process.
In any divorce, it is important to get a divorce attorney who can advocate for your best interests. In a late-life divorce, this is even more important. A dedicated, experienced lawyer is key to getting a good deal out of your divorce, so you can start your post-divorce life and head towards retirement with financial confidence.
Contact Dupage County Divorce Lawyers at Dolci & Weiland
The dedicated divorce lawyers at Dolci & Weiland have decades of experience and practice in DuPage family law and divorce law. We have fiercely advocated for thousands of clients, and we always fight to get our clients the divorce agreement they deserve.
If you are considering divorce and seeking dedicated legal representation, the lawyers at Dolci & Weiland are here to offer you both our representation and support. Whether you are dealing with a late-life divorce with complex financial issues or looking to get your case quickly resolved without skimping on your divorce agreement, we can help you. To speak to a divorce lawyer and schedule a consultation, contact us today at 630.261.9098.