Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

What are financial challenges older spouses may face in divorce?

Today, more Americans are getting divorced at an older age than ever before. This phenomenon is sometimes called “gray divorce.” According to U.S. News, divorce rates among those ages 50 and older doubled during the first decade of the new millennium. If you are like many other Virginia residents who are past retirement age, you may wonder what the challenges of a gray divorce might mean for you.

Unlike most younger couples, many couples who have been married for decades have had plenty of time to accrue significant assets, including real estate, business assets and retirement pensions. What happens to all of these assets during a divorce? Like other forms of marital property, these assets will be divided equally. It is also not uncommon for alimony to be awarded to one spouse after a long-term marriage.

These changes to your monthly income may come as a shock, whether you are the spouse who pays or receives divorce income from the other. You will also likely need to take into account the necessity of adjusting your retirement expectations. You may be faced with the possibility of finding a job or working longer than you’d planned. If you kept the house after the divorce, you may have the challenges of property taxes and other homeowner costs, while your ex may have received assets to balance the value of the house that are not as complicated.

Child support and custody are less common issues in a gray divorce, but many couples continue to provide for their adult children financially, or are caring for aging parents. These issues often become more difficult when a marriage breaks up and one spouse is unable to continue providing this type of support. These examples are just a few of the ways older spouses can encounter unique challenges during a divorce.

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