The rate at which couples in Florida and across the nation file for a gray divorce has doubled, with late-in-life marriage dissolutions expected to continue. According to Bloomberg, research shows that individuals over the age of 50 may find that their wealth drops by 50% after a divorce. It is not hard to see the importance of planning ahead for the assets and property division portion of a divorce arrangement.

Because the Sunshine State’s marital property division laws operate on a model based on equitable distribution, divorcing spouses receive assets that the court considers fair. This does not mean a judge orders equal division of assets and property; each individual receives his or her property ownership based on what a judge deems fair. If one spouse wishes to keep a particular asset or property acquired during the marriage, providing relevant reasons to the court becomes a requirement. Valid reasons for fairness in keeping property may include its potential for generating income after the marriage dissolution.

Requesting alimony or financial support

Nearly 27% of women over the age of 63 find themselves living in poverty after a divorce, as reported by Bloomberg. It is not unusual for a woman to rely on her husband to provide financial support during a marriage. After many years of doing so, she may not have the ability to start a new career after the marriage dissolves. Requesting alimony may be an option to maintain a steady income. If she also takes on the responsibility of caring for any children on her own, requesting regular child support payments is most likely necessary.

Social Security and retirement benefits

The federal government provides Social Security benefits to retired Americans age 62 and older who have paid into the fund over decades of working. As noted by Forbes magazine, an examination of each individual’s records determines the degree of his or her eligibility for Social Security benefits. Non-working spouses may not, however, receive as much in benefits as their working spouse receives. In some cases, calculating one’s eligibility to receive part of a working ex-spouse’s retirement plan or pension fund may represent a significant portion of what a non-working divorced individual has to rely upon.