A growing number of Floridians over 50 are choosing to get a divorce. Referred to as a “gray” divorce, this carries with it certain concerns that are generally not evident in divorces involving younger people. For example, finances play a larger role in a gray divorce while child support is frequently less of a consideration. Since these individuals may be established in their career and near retirement, focusing on specific issues takes on greater urgency. Having professional guidance to be protected may be an essential aspect of a successful and acceptable outcome.
Understanding the basics of a gray divorce is the first step in having full financial protection. Older people may have assets that will be subject to property division. This can include bank accounts, retirement accounts, a marital home, vacation properties, automobiles, collectibles, items of sentimental value and much more. The assets should be inventoried. This is true whether the property is owned by both spouses or is separate property. Not only should assets be counted, but debts should also be calculated. The documents with details of these properties are crucial. Tax returns, estate planning documents, a prenuptial agreement – all will be considered in the context of the divorce and its potential settlement.
Often, people thinking about how they will get through the divorce and what they will receive once the case is completed will ignore how they will make ends meet in the future. There will be a lifestyle that people grow accustomed to in the marriage. If one spouse was the breadwinner and the other does not have marketable skills to maintain that lifestyle, it should be addressed as part of the case with a support agreement. Complicating these matters is if the person is older and will need time to garner skills to self-support.
Retirement beckons for people 50 and older. However, a divorce can upend even the most comprehensive plans to enjoy a comfortable and worry-free retirement. Factors like a 401(k), IRAs, annuities and pensions may be impacted by the divorce. Many accounts must be retitled with changes to the beneficiaries, guardians if there are children younger than 18, and for other concerns.
It is usually preferable for there to be an amicable settlement of a divorce case. For many couples, they have simply determined that they are no longer compatible, but there are no lingering issues stoking animosity. Some cases have disagreements that rise into contentiousness. The spouses could have different ideas as to how property will be divided and be entrenched with no room for negotiation. Gray divorce has fundamental considerations that are not as evident when younger people choose to part ways. Having legal assistance with handling these matters effectively can avoid challenges later and be useful to reaching a satisfactory conclusion.