October 13, 2015

Gray Divorce: Special Issues

3905-000013Couples who divorce later in life can have unique issues to those who divorce earlier in life. It is no surprise that the numbers of gray divorces are increasing – after all, we have an aging population, so there are greater numbers of people over 55 than there were in the past. People get divorce for the same reasons that younger couples get divorce – they fall out of love, want a better life, have regrets, or have infidelity. Divorce can either be a god-send or a disaster. There are some things that may be available to you because you are in an older age group, such as reverse mortgages as another way to access an equity asset in your homestead.

The simple reality is that older people have more medical issues than younger people do. Sometimes couples have amassed enough resources that each can live comfortably on the assets they have available. If this is not true, the economic impact can be another factor that does not bode well.

The same as with younger couples, if there has been infidelity by one of the partners, the emotional scars can be traumatic, especially if combined with other factors that make the divorce problematic. While the scars of infidelity can be lethal at any age, for the elderly they may be much more difficult to grow beyond. The possibility of finding another partner in life may decrease with age, especially if there are other problems like health and poor finances.

So, it does not do you much good to know the statistics about how other people are affected by divorce. Your divorce is unique to you, and your ability to cope with the challenges and move beyond them depend upon your particular qualities. Remember, for those who have learned how to overcome adversity through a lengthy life, you may be better off than someone much younger who has not had the ability to discover their resilience.

With all this in mind, here are some of the things that may need to be considered:

  1. Financial considerations: It is critical for you to carefully assess your financial circumstances. If you have not had an active part in managing finances you will want to find a process that can help educate you about these matters. Finances fall in several categories.
    1. Real Estate: If you own real estate it may include your homestead, rental properties, a business, a cabin, lakefront or vacation home, or a time share. Documentation on each property is critical, and should include deeds of title, lease agreements, time share documents, mortgages and encumbrances.
    2. Personalty: This includes all personal property, investment accounts, cash assets, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, and retirement assets. It may also include valuable assets like jewelry, are, collectibles, guns, vehicles, planes, boats and recreational gear.
    3. Income Assets: A very important property item will be assets that provide monthly income, like jobs and employment, rental income, dividends, commission accounts, retirement income and social security benefits.
    4. Taxes: Are your taxes prepared and filed up to date? Do you owe any back taxes? You may well require services of a tax expert to help you plan for coming years.
  2. Health Concerns and Insurance Coverage: It will be important that you not only know your current mental and physical health realities, but that you are also aware of potential health concerns you may have that run in your family. If you have not had a complete physical examination in the recent past, this is a good time to do that. Insurance coverage may well be available to the dependent spouse as part of the divorce settlement. With recent changes in the law, you should be able to obtain insurance coverage going forward, despite pre-existing conditions. State and federal laws also require insurance companies to provide existing coverage after the divorce is final.

These are the principle issues that are usually addressed in a divorce. Divorce is always listed as one of the top two stress producing experiences we face in our lifetimes. Find a support network to provide you with assistance in moving through this difficult process. Find resources within your family to also provide comfort care.

Find a divorce process, like collaborative law practice, that will help you avoid the financial, emotional, mental and spiritual devastation that can accompany an adversarial divorce. Interview your prospects for attorney to help find someone who will listen intently and provide critical support and expertise to help you through this difficult time.
Contact any collaborative divorce professional to have your questions answered.

Bruce PeckABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bruce Peck
Attorney

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at www.BrucePeckLawOffice.com

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