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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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