Key Tips for Divorce if you're over 50

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Posted on: 03 September 2018 by Fletcher Day

Over the last fifteen years, there has been a significant increase in the number of over-fifties filing for divorce. If you are in this situation, here are four points to consider.

Over the last fifteen years, there has been a significant increase in the number of over-fifties filing for divorce. This increase may well turn out to be a temporary blip, a hangover from the days when marriage was an economic and social necessity for many people, (particularly women), but for the time being the trend shows no sign of abating. If you are in this situation, here are four points to consider.

Children can still be hurt by divorce

When children are legally minors, the courts make their welfare a priority. Those divorcing later in life are more likely to have children who are legally adults; however, it’s worth remembering that even adult children can be hurt by their parents’ divorce, particularly if it becomes messy. Divorce can be particularly difficult for adult children who are still living at home, not just because they can find themselves “caught in the middle” but also because they can find themselves having to move house before they were ready. On the other hand, a divorce could be an appropriate time to look at estate planning and to give children financial (or other) gifts now, when the donors have a good chance of living for at least 7 years.

Specialist advice is highly recommended

People who have been married for a long time may have accumulated significant assets, which are more likely to included property and pension pots, both of which can be challenging to divide fairly between the two individuals concerned. This is where specialist advice can be so useful. Ideally, the divorcing couple would consult both family lawyers and a financial adviser to set themselves on the best-possible footing for their new lives. In particular, both parties will need to look at their current arrangements for retirement and see what changes need to be made to them in the light of the divorce.

Be realistic about your housing options

Even if adult children are still living at home, the fact that they are now considered legally capable of making their own way in the world means that they are not going to be protected by the courts in the same way that minor children would be. In other words, their presence in the house is unlikely to be a reason to stop it from being sold and the equity divided between the couple. This would leave both divorcing parties (and any other household residents) needing to find a new place to live and the overall value of the assets currently available to each of the individuals will determine how easy that will be. It may well be that divorce will mean that the parties involve have to change from being home owners to being renters, however, even if there are not sufficient funds for them to buy property, they may still be able to invest in the property market by other means.

Remember that spousal maintenance can be invalidated for various reasons

In theory, even when children are grown, if a court determines a former spouse is entitled to maintenance then that money should be paid as set down by the court. In practice there are a number of reasons why this may not happen and remarriage can invalidate any spousal maintenance arrangement. That being so, there is often a strong case for reaching a settlement which provides a clean break for both parties.

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Fletcher Day

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