Getting divorced after the age of 50 presents its own unique set of challenges and issues. Understanding what these issues are and how they can ultimately impact you will help ensure that you are on the right post-divorce path both financially and emotionally.
Financial Challenges of Divorce After 50
Divorce after 50 can have a significant financial impact on your life. In addition to the jump in cost of living for a single person rather than one who is married, divorce can be detrimental to retirement plans. With less time to recoup losses, pay off debt and survive stock market fluctuations, you are in a more precarious position than those divorcing in their 30’s or 40’s. In addition, establishing a healthy and sustainable employment income is more challenging when you are further away from your peak earning years.
So what should you do? Perhaps the better question is what should you NOT do. Investopedia.com contributor Catherine Fredman lists the seven deadly sins of divorcing after 50. A selection of them include:
- Not selling the marital house. Yes, the emotional tie is there, but keeping the marital house can be a crushing financial obligation for one person.
- Being unaware of what you owe. This does not just include debt in your name. Find out which debt held in your spouse’s name that you may also be responsible for by meeting with an experienced divorce lawyer.
- Ignoring tax consequences. Your divorce will include a great deal of financial choice with tax implications. Be well versed in the results from your financial decisions with the help of an accountant or tax advisor.
- Not considering health insurance. If you were covered under your spouse’s health insurance, you will have to select from getting coverage from your employer, signing up under the Affordable Care Act or continuing your coverage (at a substantially higher cost) for up to 36 months with COBRA.
Many people divorcing after the age of 50 have been in their marriage for a significant period of time, which means they may have fallen into certain patterns of comfort and even complacency. You may have been married for decades. It’s overwhelming to imagine having to start over and build a relationship or trust once again.
It also may have been a very long time since you were “on the market”. The current dating world may seem a very confusing and fast-paced place versus when you first encountered it.
Even if your marriage was not long in duration, embarking on the dating scene post-50 can be an intimidating experience. Nina Atwood, a psychotherapist and self-help book author, shared her 4 rules for dating after 50 (that will help ensure the relationship works) on YourTango.com. They include:
- Realize that those you date — like yourself — have significant baggage (in terms of financial issues and emotional issues), and be prepared to deal with it.
- Date a long time (years not months) before you plan a future. In order to minimize the risk of rejection, many older daters are more reluctant to reveal themselves quickly and let their guard down.
- Once you think you’ve found someone special, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions that will help you truly get to know the person you are dating and their relationship/emotional history.
- Learn about dating and relationships. Consider enlisting the services of a therapist to act as a sounding board or stock up on some self-help books geared to your specific situation.
Getting a divorce after the age of 50 can be intimidating and even scary at times with much of what is ahead of you unknown. Do your best to prepare and educate yourself on what is to come and then try to look at it as an exciting adventure rather than a dreaded situation.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. If you are 50 years old or older and are involved in or contemplating a divorce, the immediately contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312 to schedule a consultation.