In a previous article we explored the concept of gray divorce and the reasons why it occurs. There are specific aspects of a gray divorce that will be unique to it and possibly different from other types of divorce. In this article, we will discuss those unique characteristics.
Over the years you and your spouse have been working and savings towards retirement. You may have a 401k, IRA, pension plan, personal investments, or simply a savings account. This is an issue specific to older couples since younger couples may not have started saving for retirement when their divorce is occurring.
Similarly, you and your spouse have had many years together to accumulate property. It can therefore be fairly complicated to divide such property. Generally speaking, the more assets a couple has, the more complicated and lengthy the process will be. This property may include investments, real estate, business interests, automobiles, and private practices.
Just like accumulating property, you and your partner may have also accumulated debt. That debt will also be divided between the spouses equitably. Assets and debts may be divided equally, but not always. This allows the judge the discretion to distribute property and debts between the parties in a manner that seems just and fair. For instance, if a party can show that the other spouse alone incurred the debt without benefitting the marital property, it can be argued for the party who incurred such debt to be solely responsible for its repayment. Here, the party would argue that it is not fair or equitable to split the debt evenly between the spouses.
Life and Health Insurance
A couple that is divorcing over the age of 50 will need to consider their current life insurance policies and how they will be impacted by the divorce. Reobtaining insurance after a divorce can be a difficult process. Health and life insurance are costly items. They may no longer be affordable for one spouse alone.
It is possible that one or more parties in a gray divorce will be suffering from cognitive decline. An incompetent person is someone who is not able to manage his or her affairs due to a mental deficiency, such as low IQ, deterioration, or illness, or sometimes a physical disability. It is important that if one spouse is incompetent, a plan is set up for how he or she will manage once the divorce is finalized, establishing a proper living situation and how his or her medical affairs will be handled.
If you are contemplating a divorce later in life, please contact the attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Our dedicated team will discuss the matters unique to a gray divorce and your specific situation to develop an appropriate strategy. Our team will advocate for your rights.