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Divorce after 50 can pose many challenges

Divorce rates for individuals over the age of 50 has nearly doubled since the 1990's, and has roughly tripled for those aged 65 and older. In 2010, roughly 25% of divorces in Texas and throughout the country involved people within that age range. Ending a marriage at a later age can have a variety of emotional and financial impacts that shouldn't be ignored.

  • After division of the marital estate, there is less time to recoup funds that were in an investment portfolio or retirement account prior to the divorce. Also, projected Social Security income may not close the gap. A financial advisor can help you in creating a new retirement plan that balances risk.
  • Divorcees will now need to cover rent, car and other payments on their own as opposed to splitting those expenses with their former spouse. Now is the time to reevaluate your budget and expenditures. You may need to change your spending habits with your longterm financial health in mind.
  • Parents who have children in college may also need to now figure out how to pay for a son or daughter's advanced education. Consult with your child's education institution to explore all financial aid options.  Remember that while your children have options for paying for college (e.g., scholarships, grants, loans, other family members), your options for funding your retirement become increasingly limited the closer you get to retirement age.
  • Re-entering the workforce in order to cover expenses at a later age can be quite challenging. However it may be a necessity, so thinking outside the box as to how to market yourself, sharpening your skills or learning new ones, wider networking, and exploring new career paths may be in order.
  • In many cases, those who are older have more money and other assets compared to younger couples who get divorced. For instance, a divorced person who is 50 or older will have on average $50,000 more in assets compared to someone under the age of 50. Those assets will be helpful in re-establishing their finances on their own. Consult with a financial advisor about how to make the most of your assets as you plan for your new financial obligations and for retirement.
  • Those divorcing after 50 may be ending a second marriage, and may not be entitled to very much, if any, of that partner's Social Security benefits, so that will need to be factored in to financial planning.
  • If you did not end up keeping the marital home for yourself, you may be faced with trying to qualify for a home loan by yourself or just deciding to rent. If you are establishing a new home, make sure your credit report is in the best shape possible, and that any former joint liabilities have been removed.
  • Long-established social circles may change. Take this opportunity to reevaluate those close to you, and nurture relationships with those who support you, encourage you, lift you up, and always provide a bit of fun, too!
  • Adult children are also affected by their parents' divorce. Grandchildren may also be a consideration. Recognize their need to adjust to the new situation, and be available to listen and to let them know they're still loved and that you will be okay.

Individuals who are looking to end their marriage at any age are well advised to consult with an attorney in advance. There are a variety of legal issues that will need to be considered, and many more at at play when you're older. An attorney can address all of these issues and often help you negotiate a settlement agreement that provides a financial foundation upon which to build your new life as you enter this next stage.

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Hargrave Family Law Jennifer S. Hargrave, P.C.

Hargrave Family Law
4201 Spring Valley Rd.
Suite 1210
Dallas, TX 75244

Phone: 214-420-0100
Fax: 214-420-0101
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