I hate the term “gray divorce.” Seriously, can you think of a more unflattering term?
That being said, I often field questions of how long a marriage must last, or what age a person must be, before falling within the realm of older divorce.
In my opinion, there is no all-inclusive definition. It’s a combination of elements, including age, retirement status, and whether or not you and your spouse are empty nesters.
We all know that divorce generates tons of financial issues, but divorces at an older age generate incredibly specific issues about asset distribution, retirement, and taxes, as well as the monthly flow of money.
If you are going through a divorce at an older age, you need a team that includes the following:
- A highly experienced divorce attorney
- A retirement specialist who also understands social security
- A wealth management specialist and/or financial planner with estate planning experience
- A health insurance/Medicare specialist
- A stellar CPA who has great knowledge of both divorce and tax issues
- The top realtor in your community
Let’s break it down this way:
- Divorce Attorney: This is your lifeline. A highly experienced divorce attorney is like the director for the next phase of your life.
- Estate Planning: You likely have wills and estate planning as a married couple. They will need to be redone – preferably by someone that you have not previously consulted with your spouse. Your divorce attorney can offer solid recommendations.
- Retirement: Perhaps you are already taking retirement assets, or you or your spouse has a pension. In many cases, retirement is the most complex issue you and your divorce attorney will be working on.
- Social Security: Are you 62 ½ years old? Are you 66? 67? Do you want to take social working while you are still working? Can you claim a part of your spouse’s social security? Is that even an asset? (Newsflash – the answer is no.) Your divorce attorney will help you navigate these concerns while making appropriate referrals.
- Alimony: Do any of the following scenarios describe you? You are retired but your spouse is still working. Your spouse is working and collecting retirement. You have always been financially dependent on your spouse. Alimony is an option you and your divorce attorney must discuss.
- Health Insurance: Are you 65? Are you already on Medicare? Are you on ACA? How about an employer’s health insurance? There are so many issues here.
- Real Estate: You may be moving, buying, and/or selling your home. Your divorce attorney knows the best — and the worst — realtors in your area.
- Taxes: Failing to prepare your taxes can result in horrible consequences. Often a CPA is required for assistance in these matters.
There’s simply no gray area regarding this fact of life: as you and/or your spouse age, divorce becomes far more specific and complicated. Consult a divorce attorney today.