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What Are Special Concerns for Couples Divorcing After Age 50?

Posted on in Divorce

DuPageAlthough the overall U.S. divorce rate has been gradually falling over the past few decades, there is one group of people who are getting divorced at a much higher rate. The number of married individuals divorcing after age 50 has increased twofold since 1990. Divorce involving older spouses, nicknamed “gray divorce,” comes with a variety of special challenges – both personal and financial. If you are considering divorce, and you are over the age of 50, you should speak to an experienced divorce lawyer to find the specific course of action that is right for you.

Financial Considerations During Gray Divorce

In Illinois, marital property, meaning property accumulated by either spouse during the marriage, is subject to equitable division during divorce. Typically, the older a person is, the more property and wealth they have accumulated. If you are planning to divorce after the age of 50, you may have investments, pensions and retirement accounts, valuable art or antiques, or other assets that must be divided between you and your spouse. 

In the majority of gray divorces, pension benefits are considered part of the marital estate. This means that one spouse may be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s pension upon retirement. IRAs, 401(k)s, or other types of retirement accounts are also typically divided during divorce. This is usually accomplished through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

Spouses May Be Entitled to Maintenance

Illinois courts make spousal support determinations based on a variety of factors, including each spouse’s health, income, property, and employability. If spousal maintenance is awarded, the amount of spousal support payments is based on the income earned by each spouse, and the duration of payments will be based on the length of the marriage. If you are getting divorced after a long marriage, and you earn a higher income than your spouse, you may be required to pay spousal support. In marriages lasting 20 years or more, spousal support may be awarded indefinitely or for a length of time equal to the duration of the marriage. Spousal maintenance ends when the recipient spouse remarries, cohabitates with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship, or passes away.

Mediation or collaborative divorce may help you resolve divorce issues such as property division and spousal support without the need for expensive court litigation. The goal of these alternative dispute resolution methods is to help you reach an agreement about the terms of your divorce in a cooperative, amicable way.

Contact a Wheaton Gray Divorce Lawyer

Divorce at an older age can be significantly more complex than a typical divorce. Fortunately, you do not have to face a gray divorce alone. If you are over age 50, and you are thinking about ending your marriage, contact The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. to learn more about how we can help you. Call our office at 630-462-9500 to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney.




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