A recent study performed by researchers at Bowling Green University found that more and more older Americans are divorcing past the age of 50. Called “gray divorce,” this new phenomenon can have potential complications for Illinois couples who choose to split up after many years of marriage. While some issues, such as child custody and visitation, do not have to be dealt with, a Chicago divorce lawyer understands that the financial implications of a late-life divorce can be problematic if not handled correctly.
- Division of retirement assets
Older Illinois couples going through a divorce are often nearing retirement age. After a lifetime of employment, most seniors expect to live off of their retirement plans; however, state law requires that the lump sum of money the couple may have planned to fund both of their retirements must be split between the two. Despite good financial planning throughout the duration of the marriage, divorced seniors may find themselves struggling to get by on half of the retirement assets they expected to have.
- Division of property
Illinois equitable property division laws necessitate the fair division of all marital assets. For older couples facing divorce, the idea of parting with property that has been owned for many years can be hard to handle. A Chicago divorce lawyer knows that the family home is often a hot-button topic, as there may be many emotions and sentiments attached. Some people want to be able to support their adult children or grandchildren with the assets that have been earned over the years, but doing so is often not possible after a divorce and dividing marital assets in half.
- Spousal maintenance
An Illinois court uses a formula to determine how much spousal maintenance is required following a divorce, and for how long. The duration of a marriage is often the determining factor, with longer marriages requiring larger payments for longer periods of time. A paying spouse may find that it is challenging to meet the financial needs of the receiving spouse, especially after retirement funds and assets have been diminished due to property division.
- Declining health
Many older Americans face declining health in their later years, and it can be a challenge to afford quality health care on a limited budget. While spousal maintenance can sometimes assist older divorcees in paying for health care, it may still be difficult to pay for medical treatment or prescriptions before qualifying for Medicare.
Many experts suggest that an older couple should hire a financial planner at the same time they would hire a Chicago divorce lawyer. It may be beneficial to have a professional help sort out the financial complications that may arise during a gray divorce.