The decision to divorce is never an easy one. It can be emotionally challenging and filled with uncertainty, irrespective of your age. However, couples considering divorcing later in life have unique considerations to keep in mind. With years, even decades, spent building a life together, unraveling the intertwined threads of a long-term marriage presents specific challenges. Berman Voss has guided countless clients through the nuances of gray divorce. Read on and contact our experienced Pennsylvania family lawyers to learn more.
Five Important Legal Considerations for Divorcing Later in Life
Some of the most important considerations for couples divorcing later in life are as follows:
- Asset Division: For couples who have been together for many years, the assets they have accumulated can be significant. This isn’t just about bank accounts and real estate. It involves pensions, retirement accounts, investments, and perhaps even a family business. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, meaning assets are divided based on fairness rather than an equal 50/50 split. Determining what is fair requires an in-depth look at the couple’s financial picture, considering factors like the length of the marriage and the contribution of each party.
- Retirement Plans: If you’re nearing or are in retirement, the division of retirement assets can be especially critical. Whether it’s a 401(k), IRA, or pension plan, how these are divided can affect your financial security in your golden years. Sometimes, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is necessary to ensure that retirement assets are divided without incurring penalties.
- Spousal Support and Alimony: With gray divorces, it’s not uncommon for one spouse to have been out of the workforce for a substantial period, perhaps to raise children or support the other’s career. In such cases, the court might award spousal support or alimony to ensure that both parties maintain a semblance of the standard of living they’ve grown accustomed to.
- Health Insurance and Medical Considerations: Healthcare becomes increasingly vital as we age. If one spouse relied on the other’s insurance plan, a divorce could disrupt this coverage. It’s essential to address this early in the divorce proceedings to ensure continuous medical coverage and understand any associated costs.
- Estate Planning Revisions: A later-in-life divorce necessitates revisiting your estate plans. Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and beneficiary designations on life insurance and retirement accounts may all need updating to reflect your changed marital status.
Divorcing later in life presents unique challenges that require careful navigation. The experienced attorneys at Berman Voss are well-versed in the intricacies of Pennsylvania divorce law. We strive to ensure that our clients are well-informed and well-represented, making the difficult process of divorce a bit more manageable.