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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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Naperville IL grey divorce lawyerOne of the primary concerns of those divorcing later in life is the impact the divorce could have on their finances. Often, those who have been married for more than 20 or 30 years have retired by the time they decide to get divorced. Separating decades of finances can be a stressful experience, especially when no more money is being made by one or both parties.

Spousal support (sometimes known as “alimony”) may be necessary to keep one spouse financially secure through later life when working full-time is no longer an option. This is especially true in long-term marriages where one spouse gave up his or her career prospects to care for the couple’s children and home.

In situations like these, the non-working spouse is often too old to go back to work and feasibly support themself through the rest of their lifetime. As such, spousal support may be awarded to a spouse for life or for a period equal to the length of the marriage.

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Naperville IL gray divorce attorneyEven though Illinois is a no-fault divorce state and does not allow for causal blame in the divorce process, family members may still view one party in a divorce as “causing” the divorce to happen. In the face of hostility or bitterness during your divorce after 50, you may naturally wonder if your divorce will impact your ability to have a positive relationship with your grandchildren.

Issues with Adult Children

The most common problems that could have an impact on your relationship with your grandchildren are likely to stem from your relationship with your own child. While older divorcing couples may avoid dealing with some of the problems of having very young children in a divorce, such as custody battles or child support payments, it would be a mistake to think your divorce will not have any effect on your adult children.

Adult children can and do have as complex and difficult reactions to their parents’ divorce as young children do. They may feel guilty, angry, responsible, or resentful towards you. Your divorce may cause them to doubt the longevity of their own relationships and question the validity of marriage in general. They may take this out on you by restricting access to your grandchildren.

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Naperville IL gray divorce attorneyAccording to the AARP, 66 percent of midlife or gray divorces are initiated by women. This may be surprising: women, who are often tasked with the responsibilities of holding family life together, may seem like the party we would least expect to initiate a divorce. This may seem especially true later in life, when the children are grown and the prospects of grandchildren, retirement, and more personal freedom are on the horizon.

Research has provided fascinating insights into the reasons women pursue grey divorce. Understanding why other women have filed for divorce can help someone who may be on the fence about the matter. If you recognize yourself in any of the following situations, it may be time to contact a divorce attorney.

Emotional or Psychological Abuse

Abby Rodman, a family psychotherapist who designed a survey taken by hundreds of women, admitted she herself was surprised by the fact that 53 percent of her respondents said they left due to psychological or emotional abuse.

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Naperville IL divorce lawyerDivorce is one of the most difficult life events an individual or family can face, and being older and more financially entangled can add significant challenges to the process. The decision to get divorced after 50 should only be made after serious consideration, and people commonly feel some hesitation about what to do and when to do it. Fortunately, there are attorneys experienced in divorce among older couples, and there are things you can do yourself to prepare for divorce and make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Consider Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

Fewer divorce cases go to court than in the past–and for good reason. Spouses who use mediation or a collaborative divorce process often have smoother divorces, and both parties can save time and money. There is more independent decision-making, and the formality and hassle of court proceedings can be avoided. However, collaborative divorce is often insufficient for divorces involving complex financial situations or significant assets, especially if one person controls the finances and the other may be unaware of the couple’s full financial picture.

Think Carefully About Finances

One of the most important and complex aspects of divorce after 50 is the divorcing couple’s financial picture. Spouses who are divorcing at older ages can have decades of commingled bank accounts, multiple homes, retirement funds, and Social Security benefits to work through.

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Kane County gray divorce attorneyOne of the biggest myths surrounding a gray divorce is that the divorce will not affect the adult children of the divorcing couple. A gray divorce, or one that takes place after the age of 50, has the potential to affect everyone in the family. Even though you may not have to deal with issues like child support and parenting time, your adult children can take the news of your divorce just as harshly as young children would. Most divorcing couples with adult children do not factor them into the divorce equation at all. While they are farther removed from the situation than a minor child would be, there are still things that you should do to protect your adult children during your gray divorce.

Understand that Your Adult Children Will Grieve the Divorce

Many people feel as if their adult children will not feel the effects of the divorce; however, that is simply not true. Even when your children are adults, a divorce can affect their lives. The dynamics of the family that they know and grew up with are changing while the world around them is telling them that they should not be affected by their parents’ issues. A sense of isolation is common for adult children of divorce, as they feel like they are unable to talk to anyone about how they are feeling. Encouraging your children to talk to you about how they feel toward the divorce can help them cope with their feelings.

Adult Children Often Feel Stuck in Between Parents

When children and parents are both adults, the relationship often changes. Rather than the parent-child relationship during their childhood, it becomes more of a friendship during your child’s adult years. This can often lead to parents oversharing during a divorce. Even though your child is an adult and has the capacity to understand all of your issues, that does not mean they need or want to hear about them. Even adults deserve to be able to maintain relationships with their parents without the influence of events that happened between their parents.

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DuPage County gray divorce lawyerThe divorce rate in America has long been a topic of interest, and in recent years, attention has turned to divorces involving Americans who are over the age of 50. While the overall divorce rate has been decreasing, the divorce rate for those who are age 50 and older has actually been increasing, according to the Pew Research Center. Since 1990, the divorce rate for adults aged 50 and older has doubled. When looking at just adults who are 65 and older, the divorce rate has nearly tripled since 1990. Researchers have speculated several reasons as to why the divorce rate is undergoing such an increase for couples in their golden years.

Older Americans Are More Likely to Be in a Second or Third Marriage

According to data from Pew, many adults in the Baby Boomer generation experienced divorce in their young adult lives back in the late 1970s and 1980s. Like many divorced people, a large number of Baby Boomers eventually remarried. Unfortunately, statistics show that second and third marriages tend to be much less stable and have a higher chance of divorce. Research shows that 48 percent of adults over the age of 50 who divorced in 2015 were in their second or subsequent marriage.

More Women Are in the Workplace Than Ever Before

Another reason that has been pointed out as potentially contributing to the higher divorce rate is women moving into the workforce. For many people in the Baby Boomer generation, women generally stayed in the home to care for the household while men worked and were the breadwinners. Now, there are more women than ever in the workforce, allowing women to gain a sense of financial independence, many of whom had never had it before.

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Naperville divorce over 50 lawyersThere are very few, if any, life situations that could be called “easy” when it comes to divorce. When it comes to gray divorce, that is, divorce involving one or more people who are over the age of 50, things are never easy on any level. According to Bloomberg, one study reported that adults who divorced who were over the age of 50 reported higher levels of depression than those whose spouses had died. However, the financial impact of a gray divorce seems to be even more significant, perhaps even more significant than previously thought. Research also shows that adults over the age of 50 can also expect to lose at least 50 percent of their wealth when they divorce. The years of your life during a gray divorce can be rather fragile when it comes to finances, so working with a divorce attorney is highly recommended.

Wealth and Income Can Be Affected Greatly

When you get a divorce, you and your spouse must divide all of your assets and debts. It only makes sense to assume that your standard of living is going to decrease somewhat. Previous studies have shown that younger adult men typically see a negligible effect on their standard of living, while younger adult women typically see around a 20 percent drop in their standard of living. Adults over the age of 50, however, see much more significant decreases. Older women usually see a decrease of 45 percent in their standard of living, while older men see a decrease of around 21 percent.

Women Face Greater Financial Risk

While all older adults face financial risk when they get a divorce, studies show that women, in particular, can suffer. Women who are aged 63 and older who have gone through a gray divorce face a poverty rate of around 27 percent. This is in comparison to men who have gone through a gray divorce, who have a poverty rate around 11 percent and couples who are married or remarried after divorce who have a poverty rate around three percent.

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DuPage County legal separation attorneyIf you have reached middle age or have been married for decades, the prospect of divorce can be difficult to contemplate. After spending so much of your life with your spouse, striking out on your own and building a new life as a single person will likely seem like an impossible task. If you are not ready to take the irrevocable step of ending your marriage, you may want to consider a legal separation instead.

Legal Separation in Illinois

If you choose to pursue a legal separation, you and your spouse can address many of the same issues as you would during a divorce, but you will remain legally married. This may provide multiple different types of benefits for both of you. For example, both spouses will be able to maintain coverage under a single health insurance plan, and you will be able to inherit property from each other if one party passes away. A legal separation may also be preferable if you do not wish to get divorced for religious or cultural reasons. However, if either you or your spouse wish to get married to a new partner, you will need to legally terminate your marriage through divorce.

Either spouse can file a petition for legal separation, and proceedings will be conducted similar to a divorce case. If you are an older couple, you may not need to address child custody, but spousal support may be a factor in a legal separation. If one spouse has relied on the income earned by the other spouse during the couple’s marriage, they may ask that spousal maintenance be awarded to ensure that they can meet their ongoing needs.

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Wheaton gray divorce lawyerWhen getting divorced later in life, you may encounter a variety of financial issues related to your marital home, your retirement savings, or other parts of your life. In addition to determining how to divide your marital assets, you should also be aware of the tax consequences of the decisions you make during your divorce. Unfortunately, even if you believe that you have addressed these matters properly, tax debts are an issue that may come up after your divorce is finalized. In these cases, you will want to understand your options and determine whether you qualify for relief from your spouse’s tax debts.

IRS Tax Liabilities and Innocent Spouse Relief

Even if your divorce settlement or judgment specified that your spouse would be responsible for paying tax debts, the IRS may still take action to collect money from both of you. If you and your spouse filed joint tax returns, and the IRS determines that you owe taxes based on errors or misreported information, both of you will be equally liable for paying the amount owed.

Fortunately, there are options available for relief from these tax debts. You may qualify for innocent spouse relief if your spouse was solely responsible for any errors on a joint tax return, such as misreporting income or claiming improper deductions on tax credits. You will need to show that when you signed the joint tax return in question, you did not know or could not have reasonably known about the errors. If the IRS determines that it would not be fair to require you to pay for your spouse’s errors, you may be granted relief from the requirement to pay these debts.

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Wheaton gray divorce lawyerWhile it is true that first-time marriage rates are much lower these days than they were in years past, once these married couples get a divorce, they are more likely to get remarried if between the ages of 25 and 45 as opposed to above the age of 50. After going through a gray divorce, many couples find their single lives to be quite satisfying. In fact, only 15% of divorced or widowed women at these ages want to remarry (according to Pew) and only 29% of men. Both men and women alike simply do not want to run the risk of another failed marriage, especially so late in life. Although this seems contrary to commonly held beliefs, there are plenty of practical reasons why staying single might be the right decision for you.

  1. It helps you keep most financial benefits of a now-dissolved marriage. If you remarry after you are retired, you might end up losing many significant financial benefits earned after the divorce, including retirement income, social security benefits, healthcare coverage, and life insurance benefits.

  1. It results in a better tax situation for you both. Especially between the ages of 50 and 60, before retirement, you and your prospective spouse might be making a lot more money than if you were younger; not to mention possessing a great deal more value in assets. In that sense, by remarrying and sharing your income and assets, you make the tax situation much more complicated, and you might end up getting taxed at a much higher rate despite being married.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerThose going through a divorce often give significant thought to moving to another city or state so they can get a fresh start. Actually moving, of course, requires careful consideration of many different factors, including the prospects of finding a job, the quality of school districts, and more. For those who are over age 50, however, the factors that could affect the decision to move away are often considerably different than they might have been at an earlier point in their lives. A qualified older divorce lawyer can help you decide on the best course of action for your unique situation.

Things to Think About Before Moving

As you think about where you would like to live after your divorce, you may be thinking about the same places you were considering during your marriage for your retirement years. For example, many older couples plan to move somewhere warm—such as Florida or Arizona—when they retire. Such places could be fine if you have sufficient retirement savings, but restarting after a divorce in those places might be more expensive than you can handle on your own. Other considerations are important as well.

When choosing a place to start again after your divorce, you should give some thought to the following:

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DuPage County grey divorce lawyerDivorce is a mentally and emotionally taxing process, but it can also have an adverse effect on your health. In fact, a recent study found an increased risk of heart problems among divorced women. This can be especially concerning for women who are nearing or at retirement age and are considering a divorce. It is important to understand this risk and how you can effectively manage it during and after your divorce.

Understanding the Risk

Published in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, the cumulative study examined the data of divorced and married women over the course of 18 years. Results showed that heart attack risks among divorced women increased by 24 percent after one divorce, and an alarming 77 percent if they went through a second divorce. This remained true, even after researchers adjusted for social and physiological risk factors of heart disease, such as age, changes in occupation, body mass index, health insurance coverage, and diabetes. Furthermore, remarriage did not diminish the likelihood of a heart attack. 

Researchers believe that the increased risk could be the result of a prolonged spike in a hormone known as cortisol, which can elevate during times of stress. Studies have shown that long-term increases of cortisol can lead to higher blood pressure, cholesterol problems, and blood sugar problems – often to the point where it becomes dangerous. Over time, and left unchecked, this could be responsible for the increased risk of heart attack among divorced women.

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