Divorce after 50 is not the same as splitting up in your 20s or 30s. Some of it is good news: with the kids grown and out of the house, you and your spouse will not have to hammer out a child custody arrangement or worry about child support.
At the same time, if you have been married for 25 years or longer, the two of you have likely amassed a valuable collection of assets, like your home, your retirement accounts and other investments. And with retirement not too far off, a division of property that will let you enjoy your golden years with financial security is critical.
This can be done, as long as you and your divorce lawyer keep the following things in mind throughout the process.
- Your sources of income. You and your ex may still be working and in (or near) your peak income years. Or you may be facing unemployment and a difficult path to getting a new job in middle age. These factors are the keys to knowing what you want to do about spousal support. Do you expect to need it? Can you afford to pay it?
- Adjusting your retirement plans. Under New York property division laws, you will each probably be entitled to about half of your retirement plan savings. But, that means you may not be able to afford the same type of retirement that you had planned. Or else you will need to find a new way to pay for it.
- Healthcare. Unless you qualify for Medicare or are still working, you will need health insurance. If your ex still works, they and their employer may let you continue to be covered under your ex’s plan, though this is not guaranteed. Otherwise, COBRA or Individual Health Insurance under the Affordable Care Act can help.
- Family. Your children may be adults, but that does not mean your divorce will not be traumatic for them. Give them the chance to express their feelings, and consider family therapy for everyone.
It’s important that you work with a divorce attorney who understands gray divorce-related issues and how to strategize for them.