Gray Divorce: What to Know About Ending your Marriage at Age 50 or Older

“Gray divorce,” divorce among couples age 50 and over, is on the rise in the United States. There are numerous reasons for this rise, including increased life expectancies and a greater social acceptance of divorce. With a gray divorce, the couple typically does not have to worry about child support or custody. This does not mean there are no issues to consider, just that the issues the couple must consider are different.

Retirement is a Big Issue to Consider

When one or both partners are approaching retirement age, retirement is a significant issue to consider when calculating how the couple’s property is divided and their spousal support order. In Ohio, nearly all assets obtained during a marriage are jointly owned and subject to the state’s “community property” division requirements.

Retirement accounts such as pensions and IRAs must be divided between the couple. This can be done through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), a legal order to name a second party, known as an “additional payee,” to an account to grant him or her access to the funds within.

Although property is generally divided equally in states with community property laws, the court may opt to instead divide a couple’s assets equitably if it deems an equal division to be unfair. Impending retirement could be an issue that drives the court to make this determination. Other issues to consider are each party’s health and realistic ability to earn an income.

Spousal Support May be Calculated Differently

Although spousal support paid after a divorce is finalized is known as “permanent” support in Ohio, it is not necessarily paid for the rest of the recipient’s life. However, it could be. This is often the arrangement for couples who had been married for a long time, during which one partner did not work or only worked part time to devote him- or herself to caring for the couple’s household and children.

After the paying spouse retires, a spousal support order may be modified to account for his or her reduced ability to make the payments. When spousal support is awarded for life, it generally only terminates upon the recipient’s remarriage or cohabitation or either party’s death.

You will Have to Alter your Estate Plans

If you have already written a will and completed other pieces of planning your estate, you will likely need to change your estate plans after the divorce. You will have to name new beneficiaries for your assets and reassign your power of attorney if you assigned it to your spouse. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you with this process.

Work with an Experienced Dayton Divorce Lawyer

You are never too old to end your marriage if you are truly unhappy with your spouse. To discuss your case and your divorce in greater detail, contact our team of experienced divorce lawyers at Comunale Law office today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.

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