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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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Naperville gray divorce attorneyIf you are over the age of 50 and you are going through a divorce—or you have recently finalized your divorce—finding a new romantic partner may be the furthest thing from your mind. Sometimes, however, life throws curveballs, and the perfect person for you may come along when you least expect it. There is also the possibility that you have been emotionally checked out of your marriage for many years prior to your divorce, so you might actually be ready to look for love again as your divorce finalizes. Either way, there are some things you should know before you commit yourself to finding a new serious relationship in the wake of an older divorce.

Spousal Support Considerations

Legal professionals and relationship experts generally agree that it is best to put off getting into a serious romantic relationship until your divorce is completed. Ultimately, however, the decision is up to you, but you need to be careful because certain decisions could affect your financial future more than you might expect.

Under Illinois law, spousal support is not automatic in any divorce case, but it is relatively common in divorces between older spouses who have been together for many years. In many such cases, one spouse tends to be financially dependent on the other, making maintenance necessary for an equitable divorce.

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Wheaton divorce lawyerFor many divorcing couples, one of the most contentious issues is figuring out which spouse will keep the marital home or if keeping the home is even possible. The financial aspect of the decision is also important. When you share a mortgage with your spouse, ending his or her responsibility is not quite as easy as taking your spouse’s name off the loan. If you wish to keep the house, you will likely need to get a mortgage in your name alone, which could take months or years to do. This can present especially difficult challenges if you are getting divorced as you approach retirement as well, so it is important to plan properly.

Is Keeping the Home Even Reasonable?

Your marital home is likely to have a great deal of sentimental value, particularly if you raised your family in that house. It is understandable that you might want to keep the home following your divorce, but the first question you should ask yourself is if it is reasonable for you to stay in the home. For example, if your marital home is a large, 4-bedroom house on several acres, do you really want to live there and care for the property on your own? If your children are still teens and would be living with you, that is one thing, but if they have grown up and moved to various parts of the country, could you handle the responsibilities of managing the home alone?

Assuming you still want to stay in the home, the next question is one of finances. Can you afford to keep the house? In making your decision, you will need to take a close look at what your financial situation will look like in the wake of your divorce. From now on, you will need to support yourself—possibly with the help of maintenance payments, but maybe not. Remember that owning the home on your own means more than paying the mortgage. You will also need to have enough income to cover utilities, taxes, repairs, insurance, and many other home-related expenses.

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Wheaton spousal support attorneyAlimony, or spousal maintenance, is thought of as a tool to help newly divorced people adapt from a two-income household to a one-income household. Maintenance is often of special importance for those who get divorced later in life. In many cases, maintenance payments eventually cease, usually after a financial goal or time limit is reached. However, in Illinois and a handful of other states, it can end earlier depending on each spouse’s circumstances. Cohabitating with a new partner after your divorce can have unintended consequences.

A “Substantial Change in Circumstances”

Generally in Illinois, maintenance is granted by the family court or by mutual agreement between the spouses. It will be granted, according to the court, to the spouse who needs it most, based on a number of factors. Some of the most important factors include:

  • Income and debt levels of both spouses

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Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyerIt is not at all uncommon for middle-aged adults to shy away from the idea of divorce. Many individuals remain in unhappy marriages merely to avoid the discomfort that comes with separating later in life. For many reasons, it is completely understandable to experience extreme anxiety when faced with ending a marriage after the age of 50, especially when you have spent a good chunk of your life with your partner. The hurdles that accompany life after a gray divorce are intimidating, but they do not need to stop you from moving on and enjoying your life.

The following are examples of common fears that often cause middle-aged adults to stay in unhealthy marriages:

  • Loss of familiarity - Deciding to take the plunge and end a marriage at any point in life is a scary thing, but experts suggest that divorcing after the age of 50 tends to be particularly fear-inducing. It is not hard to see why; for starters, years of memories, habits, and routines have accumulated over time, making it seem inconceivable that another way of life could exist after the marriage. Many couples simply see divorce as an impossible feat when they look back and consider the amount of time they have invested in the relationship. For others, if the marriage is short-lived, the idea of divorcing can be just as scary, as it can feel as if time is running out. It can also translate into a failure in the individual’s mind because it causes them to wonder if it was, in fact, a waste of their time. Whatever your personal circumstances may be, you can take comfort in knowing that starting over and facing new routines is difficult for everyone, no matter which stage of life, for many different reasons. 

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Wheaton divorce lawyerAfter a divorce, it is very common for people to begin worrying about their future, especially if they are at an age where retirement may soon be an option. One of the issues that may concern them is the question of Social Security benefits. There is much confusion over who is entitled to what, and without the help of an experienced attorney, you and your ex-spouse could find yourselves back in court or embroiled in a long debate that is simply unnecessary. 

Requirements to Collect

Almost every individual in the United States who legally works will build up what the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls a work record. Normally, you will be entitled to benefits based on the length and type of your work record, but spouses or former spouses have the right to collect based on their spouse’s record if it is better than their own. The rationale is that especially for older women, who might not be as well-equipped in terms of their ability to reenter the workforce after divorce, there needs to be a safety net of sorts to keep people out of poverty. 

The SSA lists a few criteria that must be met in order to qualify for benefits on your ex-spouse’s work record, and all of them must be met:

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