Gray Divorce and Its Financial Impact on Retirement

Divorcing during your senior years, also known as “gray divorce,” is far more common than it used to be. Over the past decade, gray divorce rates have doubled. While gray divorce proceedings are somewhat similar to the typical processes for younger couples, there are several important differences. Specifically, significant financial impacts often result from gray divorces.

Alimony Might Be Handled Differently

When younger couples divorce, they generally agree on a temporary alimony situation. These agreements are designed to help one spouse get back on his or her feet after the divorce. Usually, after a certain amount of time—or in the event of remarriage—alimony will be terminated. In gray divorces, however, you may end up paying spousal support for the rest of your life. It’s not uncommon for courts to require older, working spouses to pay alimony. An alimony attorney can help you navigate and understand the financial impact of a gray divorce.

Retirement Benefits May Be Cut in Half

Whether you’re already retired or about to retire, you’ll likely end up seeing your retirement benefits cut in half. This is an important consideration because previous financial holdings may not be enough to sustain you if you have to give half to your ex-spouse. Retirement plan division decrees tend to be vague and can cause a lot of confusion.

For example, many courts may order a 401(K) to be split evenly, but what exactly does that mean? Is the entire account split down the middle or just the amount acquired during the course of the marriage? Some divorcing partners actually choose this route instead of paying alimony. However, this should be considered carefully because alimony can be considered tax-deductible while retirement benefits are not. Talk this through with an attorney carefully before committing.

It Will Be More Difficult to Divide Assets

Dividing property or assets is probably going to be a lot more complex. If you’ve been married for many years, you’ve probably acquired various types of assets and debts. There will likely be liquid and tangible assets, retirement benefits and 401(K)s, salary uncertainties, and many more considerations. Furthermore, even though your children may live on their own, certain types of spousal and child support may still be required.

It’s common for parents to provide support to their adult children. In a divorce, they’ll have to decide if this support will continue and who will pay it. The same is true for children who support elderly parents. This cost doubles in a divorce, and children will have to decide how they plan to pay the cost for both parents.

Financial Impacts in General Will Be Tougher

Unfortunately, the financial impacts of divorce later on in life tend to be much greater. This is because seniors generally have much less time to financially recover from divorce. It’s worse when one or both spouses are already retired. The amount of money you saved for retirement seems a lot smaller when you find out you have to share it.

It’s important to work with an experienced San Diego divorce attorney. He or she will help you identify and estimate asset value. Furthermore, your counselor will help you weigh the pros and cons of various asset division strategies for the best outcome. Most importantly, working with a mediator or attorney will help alleviate the stress associated with gray divorce.

Contact a San Diego Divorce Attorney for Help

Boyd Law family attorneys work with clients in San Diego, California, and the surrounding communities. We have ample experience in matters of divorce law and senior divorces. We have the time and resources to dedicate to your case, and we’ll help you navigate the complex situations that can arise with a gray divorce. Don’t take any chances. Contact us today if you have any questions or need help with your case.