Many baby boomers are finding emptiness in their marriages, according to researchers. The divorce rate among couples over the age of 50 has doubled in the past 30 years. For those over the age of 65, the spike in divorces is even higher.
Notably, the age bracket we are talking about also has increased in the same time frame. The baby boom generation alone saw higher numbers than previous generations, hence the moniker that has lasted since the end of WWII. Life expectancy has also increased in the past few generations. Some commentators also note that more women are financially independent after having a career – a component that previous generations did not see in large numbers.
The reasons may be as varied as the number of couples over the age of 50 who are seeking divorce. Maybe after raising the kids, the empty nest highlights that the spouses have in reality grown apart. Without the kids as a binding force, spouses may no longer have much to talk about in their own relationships. When mature adults decide to separate, the divorce process generally focuses less on child custody disputes and more on financial stability.
Some tips to consider when planning for divorce after the age of 50 include:
- Understand your budget: Taking stock of your current lifestyle, and understanding the new demands of a single-person budget are important steps in managing realistic expectations. How marital property will be divided is often a concern in any divorce, yet a full evaluation of what is needed to maintain a financially stable budget can go a long way in settling your nerves during the process.
- Do not overlook market forces in property valuations: Retirement accounts, 401(k)s, pension benefits, the family home and other marital assets are generally divisible in divorce. However, depending upon the nature of the assets, it is important to consider the actual value versus the market value, including liquidity of specific assets as well as the tax consequences that may result, to best evaluate what may be fair in dividing assets.
- Alimony is not always awarded: Spousal support determinations can be complex in Minnesota. Whether you expect to receive alimony, or may be required to pay alimony to your spouse, determining if spousal maintenance is appropriate — and if so, how much support, and its duration — requires thorough analysis of many factors, especially when both spouses have worked during the marriage.
For mature adults who are facing divorce, the timeline before retirement is truncated. While dissolving a loveless marriage can be liberating, it is vital to approach financial decisions with a full understanding of what assets may be available to address your needs. Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you to understand the nuances of equitable division under Minnesota law.