Divorce in people over age 50 was once a rare event. Yet while the overall divorce rate has seen small declines, the divorce rate in couples over age 50 has more than doubled since 1990. There are several reasons for the sharp increase in so-called gray divorce. Couples in this stage of life who get divorced are also faced with some unique challenges.
Reasons for Growing Numbers of Divorces After Age 50
Divorce has become normalized over the past 30 years. It no longer has the same stigma it once had and couples who are now over 50 years old have lived through this period of wider acceptance of divorce. People now in their fifties are less likely to feel that they have to stay married if there are severe stresses on the marital relationship.
Most people find that life after age 50 is a time of change and transition. As people prepare for retirement and see their children grow up and leave the house, issues that have long been dormant can surface.
Special Issues in Divorces After Age 50
In a divorce, there are generally four major issues that couples fight over and include the following:
- Property division;
- Spousal maintenance;
- Parenting time; and
- Child support.
Most couples divorcing in their fifties do not have to fight over child support or parenting time as the children are often out of the house, or at least close to being adults.
However, the division of property and spousal maintenance can be very contentious. In Illinois, one of the factors in setting spousal maintenance is the length of the marriage. Many people in their fifties have been married for 20 years or more. This means that spousal maintenance may be ordered for the amount of time equal to the length of the marriage.
People in their fifties are much closer to retirement than those getting divorced earlier. Therefore, it is important to consider how retirement accounts will be split and how any property division will affect future retirement. Both sides will have fewer years to rebuild assets before retirement than younger couples going through the same process.
Are you considering a divorce? If you or your partner is over age 50, you will need to understand how the property division may affect your retirement. You need to speak with an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation.