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Special Considerations for Divorce When You Are Near Retirement

Posted on in Divorce

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Although the overall divorce rate in the United States has been declining, there is one demographic that is experiencing a major increase with regard to the number of couples getting divorced. Interestingly, the divorce rate for adults over age 50 has doubled in the last few decades. Getting divorced after age 50, referred to as “gray divorce,” can be much more complicated than divorcing at a younger age. If you are considering ending your marriage, and you are nearing retirement age, there are certain considerations you should keep in mind.

Property Division During a “Gray Divorce” Can Be Complex

Older couples typically own higher-value and more complex assets than younger couples do. Assets like businesses, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, investments, and social security benefits can be difficult to value and divide. Retirement accounts are usually considered a marital asset, which is subject to division under Illinois equitable distribution laws during a divorce. However, funds accumulated in an IRA, 401(k), or pension before a couple got married may be considered non-marital and therefore not subject to division. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to get a court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), which dictates how retirement account funds are divided between divorcing spouses.

Spousal Maintenance Is Often Ordered When Older Couples Get Divorced

Spousal maintenance, also called spousal support or alimony, may be awarded when a lesser-earning spouse needs financial assistance after a divorce. If you have been out of the workforce for many years because you were a stay-at-home parent or homemaker, you may be eligible for spousal support. Although most Illinois maintenance orders are temporary and designed to last only until a spouse can become financially independent, indefinite spousal maintenance may be awarded when spouses have been married for 20 years or more.

Child-Related Expenses May Continue Even After a Child Is Over Age 18

Most parents undergoing a gray divorce have children who are already teenagers or adults. While child support for minor children may not be an issue for these couples, there still may be financial matters regarding children to consider during a divorce. For example, how will parents pay for a child’s college expenses? Divorced parents’ contributions to college tuition, fees, and housing are not decided by a formula, as is usually the case with Illinois child support orders. Instead, college expenses can be up to the discretion of the judge. Illinois law also gives judges the authority to allocate other expenses, like medical insurance and textbook costs, between divorcing parents.

Contact a Cook County Gray Divorce Attorney

Ending a marriage after age 50 can be complex, both emotionally and financially. Spousal support, property division, retirement issues, and other special concerns may require help from a skilled legal professional. For sound legal guidance during your gray divorce, contact an experienced Western Springs divorce lawyer at Botti Marinaccio, LTD. Schedule a confidential consultation at our office by calling us today at 630-575-8585.


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Botti Marinaccio, LTD.


2015 Spring Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

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