Divorce is difficult at any age, but if you are divorcing after the age of 50, you could face some unique and thorny financial challenges.
A divorce between people over the age of 50 is referred to as a “gray divorce.” A gray divorce often involves more financial resources and assets than those involved in divorce between younger couples, and often one spouse is less familiar with the marital finances. These and other factors can lead to difficulties resolving financial issues, including the following:
- Potential for hidden assets – If one spouse is far more familiar with the marital finances, it can be easier for that party to conceal assets or debts leading up to a divorce. If you are not the person who managed the finances during your marriage, it’s a good idea to proactively review your accounts, track down previous years’ tax returns, and work with a financial professional to examine your marital estate before you file.
- Retirement accounts – Retirement accounts can be valuable, and any mistakes with dividing these assets can be costly. If you or your spouse have retirement accounts that are eligible for distribution in a divorce, it is crucial to think carefully about how to divide them. Consider tax penalties, for instance, and the court orders necessary to divide certain qualified plans.
- Spousal maintenance – Spousal maintenance ( i.e., “alimony”) is not uncommon in divorces involving older couples who have been married for many years. This is especially true if one person was the breadwinner and the other person managed the home and children. According to Minnesota spousal maintenance laws, courts can order temporary, short-term, long-term or even permanent maintenance, depending on numerous factors specific to each case.
If you are over 50 and considering divorce, it is crucial to understand your legal options and protections. Consulting an attorney can help you pursue a fair divorce that makes it a little easier to enter the next chapter with confidence.