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Important Issues in Late-Life Divorce

Although the overall rate of divorce is on the decline, the same may not hold true for those in the 50 and older range.

So-called “gray divorces” are on the rise and present their own set of difficulties and issues to resolve. Since 1990, the divorce rate has doubled for those over the age of 50, and more than doubled for those over age 65. With over half of these couples having been married for 20 years or longer, older couples often find that they have drifted apart over the years instead of identifying a single cause accounting for the end of their relationship.

But whatever the reason for the dissolution of a marriage, partners must face a number of decisions such as how to divide what can be the substantial accumulation of assets, including a home. Keeping a house may be an important consideration, since age can trigger certain tax-related benefits that may become especially important in later years when people might consider a reverse mortgage or qualify for public benefits like Medicaid.

Retirement benefits also need to be divided. Care should be taken to ensure that distributions are handled properly and you should find out whether or not you qualify for benefits if your ex-spouse dies. While the courts do not dictate Social Security benefits, you should still learn all you can about the rules applicable to your situation after a divorce. If your marriage lasted more than 10 years and you are 62 or older, you can typically collect benefits on your former partner’s social security record. You may also be eligible to receive survivor benefits equal to a 100 percent of your former spouse’s benefit if they die. 

The end of a marriage at any stage of life can be challenging, but the experienced Long Island divorce attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates help you make the right decisions about dividing assets and providing a sound base for your future.  

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