Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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Can you afford to divorce in your senior years?

Whether you never expected to get divorced or you knew it would happen someday, ending your marriage late in life can be traumatic and risky. After all, you may have few resources or opportunities for earning income, and you have to consider your health and living expenses. While others may be preparing for retirement, you are not sure you are ready to start over on your own.

Just like any major decision, divorce under any circumstances typically means an upheaval of some kind. It is wise for those over 50 who are considering this path to seek as much information and sound advice as possible before moving forward.

Getting answers

When couples divorce, particularly after they have been together awhile, there is usually a period of financial adjustment and struggle. The pair splits the income and divides the assets but still must continue with normal expenses of living in two separate homes. For younger couples, the struggle may mean looking for a second job or cutting expenses. For divorced spouses over 50, these options may not be so easy to pursue. Therefore, you may find it helpful to discuss the following questions and others with a legal advocate:

  • What is the most efficient way to divide a family business or to ensure the protection of your interests in your spouse's business?
  • How can you maximize your share of complex assets like equity holdings and other investments?
  • What is the best way to deal with your limited access to liquid assets?
  • Who will be responsible for joint debt, including lines of credit you were unaware your spouse opened?
  • How can you know if your spouse is keeping assets from you?
  • How will alimony affect your retirement plans?

With the new tax laws, you may have additional questions about spousal support. If you and your spouse were married for decades, you may expect an order of spousal maintenance for a significant length of time. In fact, many financial advocates recommend those going through a gray divorce purchase a life insurance policy on the alimony payor to secure continued payments if he or she should pass away first.

The best way to prepare for a gray divorce is to learn as much as you can about the process and the laws in Florida. With the advocacy and representation of a skilled attorney, you may have a better chance of obtaining a settlement that will sustain you in the future.

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