What are some of the common issues couples face when they divorce later in life?
Divorce at any stage in life can be a stressful, difficult experience. But ending a marriage later in life brings with it a series of new problems that younger couples often don’t face. Let’s take a closer look at some of these issues, such as dividing investments, pensions, income, and insurance.There are many factors that older couples must consider when they decide to divorce later in life. Not only do they have to split their heavily intertwined assets and personal lives, they may also have to come out of retirement or cope with a big drop in household income. And the number of older couples getting divorces is only on the rise. A recent article from the June 2014 Kiplinger Retirement Report says, “the divorce rate among people age 50 and older doubled in the two decades ending in 2010—even as the overall divorce rate remained flat,” citing a study by researchers at Bowling Green State University. In order to avoid some of the financial and emotional damage that may come from this kind of divorce, it’s important to be informed and vigilant.
The first important important tip is to keep track of you and your spouse’s marital assets – ALL of them. This includes money you both earned throughout the course of your marriage, such as income, pension plans, vehicles, and private bank accounts. So keep track of everything from home loan documents and credit card statements to lesser-known assets like frequent traveler program rewards. Organizing this information will help couples avoid hunting for it down the line, which saves time and money. And don’t be afraid to sit down with a financial planner or get a yearly credit report, as these are inexpensive or even free resources that can help if you have trouble keeping track of all your assets.
A second issue older couples frequently face is splitting retirement savings. IRAs and 401(k)s are divided in different ways, so it’s essential for couples to start this process as early as possible and to monitor it closely. This is usually done by submitting a QDRO, or qualified domestic relations order. It is important to include as much information as possible in this document, such as early retirement or military benefits, so that both spouses get the money they are entitled to. And don;t hide information out of spite; your spouse’s attorney will find it or it will be uncovered in the future, at a greater cost to you. It is best to work through this process with an experienced divorce attorney. Couples can also utilize non-profit sites like the Pension Rights Center for more information.
The third important factor to consider is insurance. Older couples who share health insurance plans, whether private or through a spouse’s employer, can face serious changes once they are divorced that can affect their coverage. The Affordable Care Act put some of these fears to rest, since individuals cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. There are also state and marketplace plans that may be cheaper than opting to get COBRA coverage after losing a spouse’s plan. For those who have divorce settlements that cover both spouses through their retirement age, it’s also important for them to register for Medicare once they become eligible. Long-term care insurance plays an important role here, too, along with any other supplemental insurance. Couples should buy long-term insurance to take advantage of the marital discount, which they don’t lose when they go through a divorce.
Marital assets, retirement savings, and insurance are three common issues that are important for couples to understand, and they hit home the need to plan ahead and keep detailed financial records. There are also many other factors for older couples to consider if they plan to file for divorce in New York, so it is beneficial to speak with a divorce attorney and take advantage of other financial resources along the way.
If you are looking for a divorce attorney in Queens, be sure to as about retirement, asset division and insurance. To get more information and tips, Contact the Law Offices of Bruce Feinstein, Esq. today for a Free Consultation.