Divorce at any age can be financially draining. Younger couples may be able to rebuild what they lose because they have more time and resources to increase their wealth. If you are in your 50's or older, however, you are among the age group whose divorce rate has doubled in the past few decades.
Couples divorcing late in life face the challenge of trying to protect what they have spent their lives building while they look for ways to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Couples often address three areas when they are divorcing after the age of 50:
Examining these areas before making your decision to divorce may prevent financial struggle later in life.
Changing where you spend your money
Women may lose twice as much income as men after a divorce. However, both spouses tend to lose wealth when they split. To mitigate this loss in your circumstances, you can find ways to reduce your spending.
While you may want to hold onto your home for sentimental reasons, the harsh reality is that taxes, maintenance and repairs may cripple your budget. Selling the house and moving to a smaller place is one option people consider to save money. If letting go of your home is too difficult, some suggest renting it out or accepting boarders.
Bringing in additional funds
Since Florida is an equitable distribution state, you may not get an equal amount of your joint assets from the divorce settlement, but you will receive a fair amount. This amount will be based on your age, assets, income and other factors the court will take into consideration.
As you cut your spending, you may also look for ways to increase your income. Alert your network of friends that you are looking for freelance work to earn a little extra cash. Depending on your age, you may be eligible to apply for Social Security or draw on some of your investments.
However, you may be 10 or 15 years from qualifying for Social Security's spousal benefits or the cost-saving coverage of Medicare. If this is so, you and your spouse may wish to discuss delaying the divorce until you can comfortably separate from each other's insurance coverage. Of course, this is not recommended if the marriage is causing either of you physical or emotional suffering.
Protecting your assets for now and beyond
If your portion of the settlement includes part of your spouse's 401(k) or pension, the Qualified Domestic Relations Order may apply. The QDRO may allow you to roll tax-deferred funds into an IRA or qualify you for survivor's pension when your former spouse dies. Since these judgements are complex, your attorney can answer your questions and advocate for your protection.
Depending on your circumstances, your divorce and its aftermath may be simple or complicated. Your attorney understands how family law works in Florida and will strive to protect your fair share of your marital assets. You may then be able to move forward without fear of what the future holds.