As most Americans are aware, the Baby Boomers have always preferred doing things their own way. Apparently this has translated into the area of divorce as well—while the overall divorce rate in the U.S. has actually gone down since 1990, it has doubled for those over the age of 50. In fact, more Americans older than 50 are divorced than widowed, and that number is expected to continue to grow as Boomers live longer. Sociologists have even coined a phrase for this phenomenon—“gray divorce.” There are many issues unique to divorces for older Americans, and the attorneys at The Law Place are well aware of those issues. We can help you through your divorce, looking at the factors which you are most concerned with. Our attorneys are knowledgeable regarding Florida family law, and dedicated to our clients and their future.
What Has Contributed to Older Divorces?
Some researchers warn that the phenomenon of rising divorce rates among older Americans has serious sociological implications; divorce among this group can contribute to shaky economics and poor health on the part of those getting divorced and can also add an increased burden on grown children as well as governmental funding sources. When searching for answers of why older couples are getting divorced, researchers found out that the majority of divorces among older couples are initiated by women.
While there is no definitive answer as to why more women initiate a divorce when they have passed the 50-mark, some believe women are less tolerant of a mediocre relationship than men, and simply less willing to spend the remainder of their life being unhappy. Some women may have more work experience and a greater belief in the possibilities remaining in their lives, however on the flip side, many women over 50 stay in a marriage that is not working, simply because it’s too frightening to consider leaving and striking out on their own.
How Older Couples Are Better Able to Weather a Divorce
Generally speaking, older people have the benefit of having a better sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Should you realize your spouse is simply not making the same adjustments for you as you are for them, you may decide this is not how you want to spend the remainder of your life. You may also have realized that your values have changed—as have those of your spouse—and they may not have changed in the same direction. Life experiences can allow you to realize what it will take to make you happy, and you may find yourself unwilling to continue to compromise. Having a better understanding of yourself and being able to look more rationally at the results of a divorce allows you to have a different perspective on divorce than you might have had two decades ago. You likely have no children to worry about, which also changes the course of your divorce.
The Downside to a Divorce Later in Life
Older adults are simply more financially vulnerable in today’s economy. Once you divorce, you end up with only have of the assets and income you had while married, yet must still provide a home, utilities and necessities for yourself. If you happen to be a wife who has spent the past thirty years taking care of a home, children and her husband, you may find that you are now virtually unemployable. You may have accrued few Social Security benefits of your own, and now have less time to recover financially, recoup your losses and get rid of debt. More than half of all married couples have less than $25,000 in savings and investments—if this is the case in your divorce, you are probably well aware that your financial future looks somewhat shaky. Finally, it can be scary to contemplate divorce simply from the fear of being alone. You may wonder what would happen to you if you became ill, or could worried about being alone and lonely.
How Your Attorney Can Help
If you happen to be 62 or older, you may be entitled to receive Social Security benefits on the account of your ex-spouse so long as the marriage lasted at least 10 years. You may also be entitled to half of your spouse’s pension plan—at least half of what was accrued during your marriage. Your family law attorney can determine just what benefits you are entitled to, then will work hard on your behalf to secure those benefits. There may be other benefits you are entitled to as well; the state of Florida is known for being fairly generous in awarding spousal support, particularly in long marriages and to a spouse who has devoted their entire life to taking care of the home, children and spouse at the expense of their own career.
You may be able to receive permanent spousal support, rehabilitative spousal support which will allow you to update your employment skills, or bridge-the-gap spousal support which will ease your transition from married to single. When financial mistakes are made during a divorce an older person has much less time to make a comeback from a poor decision. It is crucial that you have a skilled attorney from The Law Place by your side from beginning to end in order to avoid losing assets you can never recover. We will provide you with the best advice possible, tailored to your individual circumstances. The Law Place attorneys want you to be able to face your future with hope, rather than despair.