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Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Over 50

Lombard Gray Divorce Lawyers

Illinois Divorce Attorneys Answer Gray Divorce Questions

When an older couple gets divorced, the parties may encounter a wide variety of challenges. Some of them are similar to those that a younger couple would face while others are quite different. Sometimes referred to as "gray divorce," divorces between spouses over the age of 50 have become increasingly common in recent years, as older individuals realize that they do not need to stay in unhappy or unhealthy marriages. At the Goostree Law Group, our knowledgeable attorneys are often asked many similar questions about older divorce. Here are just some of them:

What Makes an Older Divorce Unique?

The laws that govern divorce in Illinois are the same regardless of your age. However, in a divorce between spouses over 50, certain issues tend to take on increased importance. For example, dividing marital assets, including retirement savings, can be crucial for older spouses. In an older divorce, concerns related to insurance, Social Security, and long-term care are also likely to be priorities as well. Such issues are often less important to younger couples.

How Do I Start Over Financially at 50 Years Old?

Getting divorced at age 50 or older can leave you feeling frightened and overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the future. Starting over is possible but doing so will take a great deal of hard work. You will probably need to find a new job, save some money, and find a new place to live. The foundation for your new life will be based on the terms of your divorce settlement. Our attorneys will help you secure an equitable share of your marital assets and work with you in obtaining spousal support if appropriate. We will also provide the guidance you need as you look to establish yourself as an individual, perhaps for the first time in your life.

How Will My Divorce Affect My Retirement?

Most retirement investments and savings accumulated during a marriage are marital assets and are subject to being divided in a divorce. This means that you are generally entitled to an equitable share of the savings that you and your spouse set aside. However, your retirement plan probably did not account for a need to support two households. Therefore, there is a good chance that you will need to make some adjustments to your plan, including the possibility of delaying your retirement. A qualified Wheaton divorce lawyer can help you determine the best course of action.

Am I Entitled to Receive Spousal Support?

Under Illinois law, spousal support is not guaranteed in any divorce. If you and your spouse have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that says you will receive spousal support, the court will generally uphold such an agreement. Otherwise, the court must find that there is a justifiable need to order support payments—formally called maintenance in Illinois. If your spouse is nearing retirement or disabled, however, a support order might not be reasonable. Our attorneys can help you explore other options for securing the resources you need.

Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support if I Am Retired?

Under the law in Illinois, spousal support may be awarded when the court identifies a financial need by one spouse following a divorce. If you are nearing retirement, you could be ordered to pay support to your spouse until you actually retire, at which point the order could be reviewed and terminated if your financial situation has changed substantially. If you are already retired, you might not be required to make maintenance payments. In such a case, the asset division process may be used to address your spouse's financial needs.

Can I Claim Social Security Benefits Under My Ex-Spouse's Work History?

If you have little or no work history for the purposes of qualifying for Social Security benefits, you could qualify for partial benefits under your spouse's work history, even after your divorce. Your specific eligibility will depend on a number of factors including your birth year, the age at which you start claiming benefits, the length of your marriage, and more. Your Social Security benefits could be an important consideration in your divorce settlement, so it is a good idea to discuss your situation with one of our attorneys before you make any decisions.

Should I Keep the Family Home?

In most marriages, the family home is a marital asset that must be considered during the property division process. If you and your spouse can reach an equitable agreement and you can afford to stay in the home, keeping the house could be an option. There may be tax breaks or deferments available that could increase your chances of staying in your home. The family home, however, may be the largest single asset you and your spouse own, and it may be necessary to sell the home in order to facilitate an equitable distribution of your marital property.

I Never Had a Career. What Do I Do Now?

If you have spent your entire adult life as a stay-at-home parent or homemaker, you may be scared about the idea of finding a job in the wake of your older divorce. Those who have never had a career before may not even know where to begin. However, starting a career at or over age 50 is possible, and our attorneys can help you get started. We will work to ensure you have the resources you need to obtain the training and education required, and we can help connect you to job-related resources in the community. Our team is dedicated to getting you on your feet as quickly as possible following your divorce.

Can I Stay on My Spouse's Insurance After Our Divorce?

Insurance concerns are often crucial in an older divorce, and particularly so if you have serious health issues. If your spouse has coverage through his or her employer, you will not be eligible to remain on his or her health insurance plan once your divorce is finalized. Continuing coverage through COBRA may be an option, but such coverage is often cost-prohibitive, especially if you are on a limited income. Our attorneys will work with you in exploring other options, including individual health coverage, Medicare, Medicaid, and more.

Why Should I Hire Goostree Law Group for My Divorce?

At our law firm, we are dedicated to protecting the rights and best interests of older individuals going through a divorce. Our attorneys understand the challenges that a couple over 50 is likely to face during the process, and we are sensitive to how your divorce will affect your entire family. To learn more about our firm and how we can help you, contact our office. Call 630-634-5050 for a free consultation today. We serve clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Kendall County, and the surrounding areas.

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