It's no secret that Baby Boomer Divorce's are on the rise. Statistics show that divorce is decreasing in every age group except for couples in their 60s. Unique issues face these litigants and this article offers 5 tips for separating spouse's over the age of 50.
Settlement is more important than ever: Legal Fees can be far more expensive for divorces with assets over 1 million dollars. When choosing an attorney to assist you, ensure that s/he is experienced with not only litigation, but mediation or collaborative law as well. A talented negotiator with a strong legal strategy can help keep legal fees reasonable, confrontation low and "damage" controlled.
Social Security Benefits.
Just because social security benefits cannot be divided in a divorce, does not mean you should ignore the rules that impact your benefits if you marriage lasted more than 10 years. Educate yourself on rules that such as whether or not you are entitled to survivor benefits if your former spouse dies. Additionally, if you are over the age of 62, you can collect benefits after the divorce on your former spouse's record without your former spouse receiving a reduction of their own benefits.
It is essential the retirement accounts are properly considered and divided. In most cases, a document (in addition to your Judgment) MUST be prepared to ensure the non-employee spouse receives their share and the employee spouse can receive benefits upon retirement and/or access her/his share before retirement.
Financial Planning and Debt.
Creating a financial plan: It is very important to develop a post-divorce financial plan and budget. You will need to determine when you can retire, if spending needs to be cut back, or if you should revise your retirement plan. Your budget will keep you from depleting assets to sustain your daily needs. You may also decide to review your estate planning documents and insurance policies. Beneficiary designations may ultimately need to be changed. Debt: If you were not the primary bread winner while married, it is important to establish credit after the split. If the relationship is troubled, it might not be a bad idea to take out a credit card in your own name while you are still married. If you are a joint account holder and/or authorized user and your spouse is racking up significant credit card charges, distance yourself as much as possible by having your name taken off the account and alerting the financial institution that you are separated. It might help to offset liability.
Medical insurance can be a major issue for baby boomers, especially for the spouse that receives health insurance through the other spouse's employment. Upon Dissolution of Marriage, health benefits cease for the non-employee spouse and that individual will need his or her own plan. While laws have changed and/or are being implemented with respect to health insurance, at this point and time, many of our clients fine COBRA and/or a new policy expensive. Payment of a health insurance premium and/or medical bills may need to be addressed in the divorce action.