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Kendall County Grey Divorce AttorneyThere are many situations where older couples may encounter relationship issues that cause them to consider divorce. However, those who have been married for many years or multiple decades may be hesitant to take the final, irrevocable step of ending their marriage. Starting over late in life may be a daunting prospect, and disentangling the various aspects of a couple’s shared existence may seem like an impossible task, especially when spouses share finances, live together in a home they have owned for a long period of time, and have accumulated a large number of possessions that have a sentimental value for both of them. In some cases, a couple may consider a legal separation instead of legally dissolving their marriage, but when doing so, they will need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of this type of arrangement.

Pros of Legal Separation

A couple may choose to pursue a trial separation as they decide whether they want to proceed with a divorce or whether they may be able to repair their relationship. By taking steps to begin separating from each other, they may be able to set the divorce process in motion, establish separate living arrangements, start to handle financial issues independently, and make decisions about who will own different pieces of property. If they do choose to go ahead with their divorce, this can help them take much of the uncertainty out of the process, and they may be able to avoid disputes that could prolong their divorce or lead to additional expenses.

A legal separation will address many of the same issues as a divorce. If one spouse will be at a financial disadvantage, they may request spousal maintenance from the other party during the couple’s separation. The couple may also reach an agreement on issues related to the division of marital property. By remaining legally married, one or both spouses may be able to take advantage of certain benefits, such as health insurance coverage provided by one spouse’s employer.

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Yorkville Grey Divorce AttorneyGetting divorced at any age comes with financial challenges, but older adults often face a unique set of hurdles when ending their marriage. If you are over age 50 and thinking about getting divorced, you may have questions about property, debt, income, retirement, and more. You may be especially concerned about your ability to access retirement benefits and Social Security income. Regardless of where you are in the separation or divorce process, it is important to know how Social Security and retirement benefits are handled in Illinois divorce cases so you can make the best decisions possible moving forward.

Retirement Assets in an Illinois Divorce

Retirement accounts, including IRAs, pensions, and 401(k)s are treated the same as any other asset in a divorce. Whatever portion of the retirement funds were accumulated during the marriage are marital funds in which both spouses have a stake in. Retirement funds that were accumulated before the couple got married are typically non-marital assets owned solely by the retirement plan holder. However, if the couple had a prenuptial agreement classifying retirement assets as either marital or non-marital, the court will most likely uphold this agreement during a divorce.

Spouses may decide to divide retirement funds using a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), or they may assign one spouse retirement funds and the other spouse property of equivalent value. A divorce lawyer experienced in retirement asset division during divorce can help divorcing spouses choose the option that is most advantageous to them.

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Kendall County Domestic Abuse Divorce LawyerDomestic violence affects every age, race, and income level. Often, some of the most abusive marriages are those that appear perfect from an outsider’s perspective. Sadly, many domestic violence victims stay in abusive relationships because they are afraid to leave. They may not have the financial means to live independently or worry about what people would think if they left the relationship. Others stay with abusive partners because their partners have brainwashed them into thinking that they somehow deserve the abuse. If you are over age 50 and want to end an abusive marriage, a divorce lawyer experienced in domestic violence issues can help.

Abuse is Not Always Physical

One of the most common misconceptions about domestic abuse is that it is always physical in nature. Hitting, kicking, slapping, and pushing are only one form of domestic violence. Per Illinois law, abuse can also involve non-physical forms of harm. In older couples, abuse often takes the form of mental and emotional maltreatment, financial control, and intimidation.

Domestic violence in a marriage with spouses over age 50 may involve:

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Yorkville Divorce AttorneyBeing a doctor, dentist, or other medical professional comes with a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Owning your own practice gives a medical professional a greater degree of control and financial stability, but it also involves significant liability. Gray divorce, or divorce involving spouses aged 50 or older, is already challenging. Divorce involving a business or professional practice is even harder. If you are getting divorced and you or your spouse own a medical practice or other professional practice, it is crucial to understand how this will influence your divorce.

Understanding Ownership of a Professional Practice in a Divorce

Professional practices are treated like other assets in an Illinois divorce. Ideally, spouses will use a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement to specify ownership of a professional practice long before a divorce. However, if no such agreement exists, determining ownership of the practice will be more difficult.

A medical practice that was established during the marriage may be considered marital property. This means that both spouses are entitled to an equitable share of the practice’s value. Medical practices that were established before the marriage may be non-marital property. However, any increase in the value of the practice during the marriage may be marital property.

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Yorkville Gray Divorce LawyerFor many people going through a divorce over 50, reentering the workforce is an intimidating but necessary reality. While, in some cases, spousal support may be enough to meet your financial needs, many divorced individuals over 50 must find another source of income. You may be restarting a career that you put on hold while raising kids and managing your home. In some cases, you may be entering the workforce for the first time. The positive news is that you can use tools to make this transition more successful as you look to find a fulfilling and financially rewarding job after your gray divorce.

Opportunities for Job Search Assistance

  1. There is often assistance for job seekers available in your local community. Many cities and counties have employee assistance programs to help you with resume preparation, interview techniques, and job search tools. Sometimes these are offered through your local library, school district continuing education programs, or a community college. These can include courses to improve or enhance your proficiencies in specific marketable skills, such as computer programs or other training.

  2. If you want to experience or explore a new field, volunteering can be an excellent way to try new opportunities. Volunteering can help you learn new skills, brush up on previous experience, and expand your network of employment opportunities. If your financial needs are more immediate, you can consider part-time or seasonal work.

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Naperville Divorce LawyerMany married couples divide household chores and responsibilities between the spouses. One spouse may do the cooking and cleaning while the other spouse handles home repairs and lawn care. This division of labor often extends to financial concerns as well. One spouse may handle most if not all of the banking, bill paying, and other financial matters, while the other spouse deals with other responsibilities.

If you are getting divorced over age 50 and you have not been involved in financial decision-making, this can leave you vulnerable during a divorce. It is important to know your rights and retain skilled legal counsel.

Tip #1: Gather Financial Documents and Make Copies

Many divorcing spouses do not know details about their assets and debts. If this describes you, it is important to start educating yourself about your financial situation. You cannot make sound decisions about retirement assets, ownership of the marital home, and other crucial financial matters if you do not have a clear picture of what you own and what you owe. Take some time to gather tax returns, retirement account statements, bank statements, credit card statements, and other financial documents. Make copies of these documents for later reference during the divorce.

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Statistics demonstrate that intimate partner violence affects married couples of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels. Some studies show that the frequency and Naperville Divorce Lawyerseverity of abuse increase as couples age. Sadly, the longer a spouse tolerates abusive treatment, the less likely he or she may be to leave his or her spouse. Many older adults worry that they will not be able to afford to live on their own. They may also be convinced that they somehow deserve to be mistreated due to years of manipulation from the other spouse.

It takes a tremendous amount of courage to divorce an abusive spouse. If you are ready to leave an abusive spouse, know that you do not have to face this alone. A divorce lawyer with experience in gray divorce matters and domestic violence can be your legal advocate and guide you through the divorce process.

Orders of Protection for Abuse Victims in Illinois

Many people are afraid to leave an abusive spouse because they fear retaliation. If you are currently being abused, threatened, or harassed by your spouse, consider getting an order of protection. In Illinois, emergency protection orders are often available on a same-day basis. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) can require your spouse to:

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Geneva Divorce LawyerPrenuptial agreements or “prenups” are often misunderstood. Some people believe that prenups are only needed if the couple is extremely wealthy. Others assume that no one who takes their marriage vows seriously would ever get a prenuptial agreement. Fortunately, more and more engaged couples are seeing beyond these misconceptions and realizing that prenuptial agreements offer a multitude of benefits to both spouses.  Prenuptial agreements can be especially beneficial if the couple is older and has previously been married.

Advantages of Using a Prenup for Your Second or Subsequent Marriage

If you are divorced and planning on remarrying, a prenuptial agreement may be useful in several ways, including:

Classifying assets - A prenup allows a couple to classify property as marital or non-marital. Marital property is jointly held by both spouses. Non-marital or separate property belongs only to the spouse who originally owned the assets.  If you eventually get divorced or a spouse passes away, a prenuptial agreement ensures that the property is divided in the way you specify. Without a prenup, property may be divided according to Illinois property division laws. Many spouses want to ensure that certain assets, such as business interests, real estate, or family heirlooms are classified as non-marital assets.

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Naperville Divorce LawyersSome couples are only married a few months to a few years before they divorce. Others are married 10, 20, or even 30+ years when they make the decision to split. No divorce is easy, but divorcing after a long marriage can make it feel like your world is getting turned upside down.

If you are thinking about divorce and you have been married for over 20 years, the road ahead may look ominous. However, it is important to remain hopeful and positive. One of the best things you can do to prepare for a “gray divorce” is to know what to expect.

Property and Debt Division for Divorce After a Long-Term Marriage

Typically, the longer a couple has been married, the greater their shared assets and debts. In Illinois, property and debts collected by either spouse during the marriage are included in the marital estate. This means that both spouses are entitled to an equitable share of the property and debt accumulated during the marriage. Property identified as non-marital property through a prenuptial agreement, inheritance, and certain gifts are excluded from the marital property. You and your spouse may need to address retirement funds, savings accounts, investments, real estate, and more during your divorce. A divorce lawyer can help you understand and evaluate your options for dividing property between you and your spouse.

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Wheaton Divorce LawyerThe decision to divorce is a deeply personal one. Understandably, many people think about divorce for years or even decades before finally calling it quits.

Divorce is usually associated with couples in their 30s and 40s. However, studies show that the divorce rate for this demographic is declining. Contrarily, the divorce rate for those over age fifty has doubled. Even more surprisingly, the rate of divorce for couples over age 65 has tripled in the last several decades.

If you find yourself facing divorce in your 50s, 60s, or 70s, you will most likely face a unique set of divorce challenges. It is important to work with a divorce lawyer who understands how to tackle these challenges.

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Posted on in Divorce

dupage county divorce lawyerWhile divorce can be difficult at any age, if you are over the age of 50, you may experience some unique issues as you end a long-term marriage and determine how to move forward with your life. Starting over later in life will require you to make a number of major changes that may affect your living situation, your finances, and your relationships with friends and family members. As you establish a new life for yourself following a gray divorce, you may feel that you are ready to begin looking for a new partner, or you may want to explore short-term or casual relationships. When exploring your opportunities for dating after divorce, you will want to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be sure you are ready - Before jumping into the dating world, you will want to make sure you really want to take this step. If you are feeling lonely, or if you are unsatisfied with your post-divorce life, you may want to work on yourself first and find ways to be happy on your own before beginning a new relationship. By focusing on maintaining your health and doing things you enjoy, you can build a positive life for yourself, and this will help you be a better partner when you do choose to begin dating again.

  • Know what you want - Are you looking for a long-term relationship, or do you want to start slow and keep things casual at first? By understanding your goals as you begin dating, you can set realistic expectations and avoid communicating the wrong message to potential partners.

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wheaton divorce lawyerWhile divorce can be a complex and difficult matter for any couple, spouses who are over the age of 50 may experience some unique challenges when they choose to end their marriage. Throughout a lengthy relationship, a couple is likely to acquire multiple forms of property, and they may disagree about how these assets should be divided. In many cases, a couple’s family home will be one of their most valuable assets, and both spouses may have emotional attachments to the home. This can lead to contentious disputes about homeownership. During a gray divorce, spouses will need to understand their rights toward their home and other property, the options for addressing ownership of their assets, and the issues that may arise as they work to dissolve their marriage.

Dividing the Marital Home During a Gray Divorce

If an older couple has been married for many years, they may own significant equity in their family home. Since marital assets will include any property acquired during a couple’s marriage, this equity will be considered marital property, even if only one spouse’s name is on the home’s title. All marital assets will need to be divided between the spouses, and each party must receive a fair and equitable share of the marital estate. 

During a divorce, a couple may decide that one spouse will maintain sole ownership of their home, or they may sell the home and divide the proceeds. In some cases, a couple may choose to continue co-owning their home after getting divorced, although this is generally not advisable. 

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Naperville Divorce LawyerWhile divorce at any age can put a person in a difficult financial position, those who get divorced while over the age of 50 may be especially concerned about their ability to support themselves. In cases where a spouse did not work during their marriage, they may be unsure about whether they will be able to get a job this late in life that will allow them to earn enough income to provide for their needs. If one spouse earned the majority of a couple’s income, the other spouse may have relied on them to cover ongoing expenses, and they may worry that they will not be able to support themselves on their own. Spouses who have already retired or who are approaching retirement age may also be worried about whether they will be able to receive the necessary benefits to cover their ongoing expenses. Depending on a couple’s circumstances, spousal support may be awarded to ensure that a spouse with limited financial resources will be able to meet their needs.

Addressing Spousal Support in a Gray Divorce

Spousal maintenance, which may also be referred to using the terms “spousal support” or “alimony,” may be appropriate in divorce cases where one spouse earns a higher income than the other. This support will usually take the form of monthly payments made by one ex-spouse to the other. The purpose of maintenance is to make sure both spouses will have the financial resources that will allow them to maintain the standard of living they were accustomed to throughout their marriage. If a spouse did not work during their marriage, or if they have earned and are currently able to earn a significantly lower income than the other spouse, they may be able to receive spousal maintenance.

Spousal support is not awarded automatically, but a couple may be able to negotiate a divorce settlement in which they agree that one spouse will pay support to the other. However, if they cannot reach an agreement, they may need to ask a divorce court judge to make the final decision about whether to award maintenance. In these cases, a judge may consider multiple relevant factors that affect the spouses’ lives, including each spouse’s current income, their ongoing needs, their realistic earning capacity, the feasibility of pursuing education or training that would allow the lower-earning spouse to increase the income they can earn, whether one spouse chose to attend to family duties and household responsibilities instead of pursuing a career, and whether one spouse helped the other increase their income-earning ability while the couple was married.

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wheaton divorce lawyerIn recent years, the rates of divorce for spouses over the age of 50 have increased significantly. These cases, which are often referred to as “gray divorces,” may occur for a number of reasons, including increased levels of financial independence for women, couples choosing to delay breakups until children are grown, or changes in spouses’ priorities and goals over the course of years of marriage. Older spouses who are planning to get divorced will need to consider a number of financial issues, including how their choice to end their marriage will affect their plans for retirement.

Divorce Before Retirement

Plans for retirement are an important consideration throughout a person’s career. In many cases, a person will save money in a retirement account such as a 401(k) or IRA with the expectation that they will be able to use this money to support themselves when they are no longer working. A person may also work in a pension-eligible position, and after they retire, they will be able to receive ongoing pension payments. However, a divorce when a person is nearing retirement may affect the money saved in retirement accounts or the pension benefits a person will receive, and they may need to adjust their plans for retirement accordingly.

Retirement accounts will generally be considered marital property, and the funds in these accounts may need to be allocated between spouses during the property division process. If a person earned pension benefits during their marriage, their spouse may be entitled to receive a percentage of their pension payments. Retirement accounts and pension benefits can be divided through the use of a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), which will prevent early withdrawal penalties or taxes before a person reaches retirement age. After determining how these assets will be divided, a person may need to consider whether they will have the financial resources to support themselves following their retirement. If necessary, the date of retirement may be delayed so a person can build up additional savings and ensure that they will be able to meet their post-retirement needs.

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DuPage gray divorce lawyer

While divorce can be difficult at any age, a person who is over the age of 50 may face some unique issues when they end their marriage. If you are considering a gray divorce, financial issues are likely to be some of your key concerns. You will want to make sure you will have the resources you will need to support yourself, including after your retirement. One issue that you will want to be aware of is whether you can qualify for Social Security benefits based on the amount that your ex-spouse will be able to receive after retiring.

Social Security for Divorced Spouses

The amount a person can receive through Social Security is based on their work history. If you do not have a significant work history, or if your ex-spouse earned the majority of your family’s income during your marriage, the amount of benefits you can receive based on your own work history may be limited. However, you may be able to receive benefits based on the amount that your ex-spouse will receive upon retirement.

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Wheaton gray divorce lawyer

Married couples who are over the age of 50 are likely to have been together for a long period of time. After building what was expected to be a life-long relationship, raising children together, and acting as partners to help each other navigate the ups and downs of life, infidelity by one spouse can seem like an incredible betrayal. This issue may be the cause of a gray divorce, and as spouses proceed through the process of dissolving their marriage, they will want to determine the role that a spouse’s infidelity will play in the legal proceedings.

Divorce-Related Issues That May Be Affected by Infidelity

Due to the strong emotions related to infidelity and the fact that it may have been a primary reason for the breakdown of a couple’s relationship, spouses may expect that it will be an issue to be addressed during the divorce process. However, most divorce-related decisions will not focus on why a marriage is ending, but will instead address how matters will be handled as the couple dissolves their legal partnership and moves forward with their lives. Infidelity usually will only play a role in the legal process of divorce in a few specific situations:

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Geneva gray divorce lawyerThere are many reasons why spouses may choose to get divorced, even after being married for many years, raising a family together, and building a life as partners. In some cases, long-held conflicts and resentments can surface after a couple’s children grow up and leave home, while in others, a couple may simply grow apart and find that they are no longer happy in their marriage. In a divorce over the age of 50, a couple may need to address many types of complex issues, and in many cases, mediation offers the best option for resolving disputes and ensuring that both spouses can move forward with their lives successfully.

Benefits of Mediation in a Gray Divorce

During a divorce, a couple will need to address a variety of legal issues as they determine how to separate their lives, their property, and their finances. Going to court to resolve these issues can take a great deal of time, and it can be very expensive, especially if a couple becomes involved in contentious disputes over issues such as the division of assets or spousal support. Mediation offers an alternative way to resolve these disputes by having the spouses work together with a neutral mediator to create a divorce settlement that they can both agree on.

Some reasons that older couples may want to use mediation during the divorce process include:

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Wheaton gray divorce lawyerThe term “gray divorce” has been used to describe the increasingly frequent divorce cases involving individuals in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Older couples divorce for countless reasons. Some gray divorces are simply formalizing the end of a marriage that has been struggling for many years. Other times, an individual files for divorce after finding out that the other spouse was having an affair. Substance abuse or addiction can also devastate a marriage.

If you are divorcing and your spouse has misused, wasted, or destroyed funds or property, you may have a valid claim of “dissipation of assets.” You may be entitled to a proportionally larger share of the marital estate during the division of marital assets.

Wasting Assets Near the End of the Marriage

When a spouse misuses or squanders a substantial amount of property before property can be divided in a divorce, Illinois law offers a remedy through a dissipation of assets claim. “Dissipation” refers to using money or property that belongs to the marital estate for a purpose not benefiting the marriage while the marriage is experiencing a “breakdown.” In other words, dissipation is squandering money or property while the marriage is nearing its end.

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Kendall County gray divorce lawyerPeople over the age of 50 make up a large percentage of the population in the United States, and this demographic is continuing to grow as Baby Boomers get older and retire. As this part of the population increases, it makes sense that the rates of divorce for people over 50 are also increasing. By understanding some of the common reasons for these “gray divorces,” spouses can be aware of issues that may indicate that their marriage is in trouble, or they may decide that divorce is the best option to ensure that they can be as happy as possible throughout the rest of their lives.

Reasons Older Couples Choose to Get Divorced

  • Infidelity - Cheating can take place in any marriage, but for those who have been married for a longer amount of time, there is more opportunity for spouses to wander. This can especially be true for those who are unsatisfied with their marriage or who have experienced relationship problems. In many cases, infidelity is the “final straw” that leads couples to decide to end their marriage.

  • Financial issues - Older couples will have had longer to build and maintain financial stability, settle into spending patterns, and save for retirement. However, if a couple has experienced disagreements about finances throughout their marriage, they may eventually decide that these matters will be impossible to resolve, and they may choose to end their marriage rather than continuing to struggle over these issues. Older couples may also choose to divorce because of one spouse’s financial mismanagement, such as extravagant spending habits or gambling. The stress of unexpected debts due to health problems, job loss, or natural disasters may also cause a relationship to break down, leading to divorce.

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St. Charles gray divorce attorneyIn many cases, divorce for those who are 50 or older can lead to financial difficulties. When a couple has been together for many years or multiple decades, shifting to living separately can be a huge adjustment. While it can be difficult enough for a spouse to cover their expenses on a single income, some issues, such as gambling debts, can lead to additional financial problems. In these situations, a spouse will need to understand the role that gambling debts incurred by their former partner will play in their divorce.

Gambling Debts and Asset Dissipation

Typically, debts incurred by married spouses are considered to be marital debts, and the spouses will be jointly responsible for repaying the amounts owed. However, gambling debts may be approached differently, especially if one spouse acted without the other spouse’s knowledge when incurring these debts. In these cases, the use of marital funds for gambling purposes may be considered asset dissipation.

Asset dissipation involves the use of marital property for the sole benefit of one spouse and for purposes unrelated to the couple’s marriage. This dissipation must occur while the marriage is undergoing an “irretrievable breakdown.” Gambling will often fall into this category, since a person who has a gambling addiction will often act without their spouse’s knowledge, and their actions will involve the use of marital funds for non-marital purposes. By showing that marital funds were used improperly, the other spouse will be able to ensure that this issue will be addressed correctly during the divorce process.

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