As a Long Island divorce lawyer, I am seeing more and more clients over the age of 50 filing for divorce.
When the Nest Empties, Spouses Reevaluate Relationship
It seems that once children leave for college, settle down, and begin to start their own families, older spouses on Long Island become “empty nesters” faced with a drastic change in lifestyle. These spouses must begin to face the day-to-day reality of their own marriage absent the responsibilities of parenting minor children. It appears that this phase in life often encourages spouses to reevaluate their level of happiness and fulfillment in their marriage. Sometimes, this means realizing that their marriage was held together by the mutual interests in the wellbeing of the children and it is at this moment that some marriages take a turn for divorce.
NY Time Article Claims ‘Gray Divorce Revolution’
An article in the New York Times validates what I’m seeing in my Melville, NY office. According to Times article, divorces after age 50 are becoming increasingly common. The article calls this trend a “gray divorce revolution,” stating that the divorce rate among people 50 and older had more than doubled between 1990 and 2010.
Agreements Are Different, But No Less Complex
For older couples, divorce or separation agreements regarding child custody and visitation are often no longer necessary as the children are also adults. However, divorcing spouses may need to address who will pay for things like children’s college tuition and expenses or who will care for grandchildren as part of the new financial considerations of senior life. In particular, there are certain issues that are specific to these types of divorces that make divorcing after 50 far more complex. Because of years of intermingling and sharing assets, certain issues will need to be carefully addressed in divorce and mediation.
Spousal Support Can Be More Important After 50
For example, spousal support (also known as alimony) is likely to play a greater role in a divorce after 50 when spouses are ending a long term marriage. What is customary for spousal support can vary, but those divorcing from a marriage of more than 20 or 25 years might even expect that courts will order spousal support for life. Retirement accounts like pension plans, 401(k)s, and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) may also be split in half, as they are treated as marital assets in divorce.
Insurance, Work, Pension & Income Issues
If there is a stay-at-home spouse, he or she will need to become aware that access to health insurance through his or her spouse will no longer be available after divorce. Some other considerations for “gray divorces” include whether there is one spouse who stayed home to raise the children and thereby give up a meaningful ability to reenter the workforce, whether and when each spouse will receive a pension or social security income, and how many years will each spouse continue to work and generate an employment income.
2nd, 3rd Marriages Can Make Divorce More Likely After 50
While it is generally true that the longer a marriage endures, the less likely it is for the marriage to end in divorce, it is also true that many people over 50 who divorce are in second or third marriages, which generally means a greater likelihood of divorce. Finally, those who divorce after 50 are encouraged to consider a pre-nuptial agreement in the event they decide to remarry.
Consult an Experienced Long Island Divorce Lawyer If Considering Divorce After 50
Seniors who divorce can look forward to years of new found independence and freedom, but sometimes this comes at the cost of financial stability. If you are over 50 and considering divorce, it is important that you speak to a qualified, experienced, and trustworthy divorce attorney to help you plan ahead for your future. Our office has handled hundreds of divorces in Nassau County, Suffolk, County, and New York City with successful outcomes and satisfied clients. Contact our office today at 631-923-1910 for a free consultation.
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