Often, married couples find that, once they reach a certain stage in the marriage, or once their children have moved on and established lives of their own, they no longer have as much in common as they once did. This is among the many reasons “gray” divorce is on the rise, but divorcing after 50 can involve certain challenges that differ from those faced by younger people.
Why? Part of the reasoning is the simple fact that the longer a marriage lasts, the longer a couple has to accrue shared assets or amass considerable wealth. The more wealth a couple has, the more they have to do to figure out how to divide it. So, what are some key issues you will typically need to work through when you divorce later in life?
Adjusting to a new standard of living
By the time you reach 50, chances are, you are pretty set in your ways and have become accustomed to a particular standard of living. However, it can prove difficult to maintain that standard of living after a divorce, and particularly if you sacrificed your own career for the sake of your spouse or children.
Dividing retirement accounts
Dividing retirement accounts can prove complex, and in some cases, you may find you have to pay hefty taxes or heavy penalties if you withdraw from certain accounts early. Dividing brokerage accounts can prove tricky, and you may have to navigate complicated issues regarding capital gains.
While many elements of gray divorce can be challenging, arguably the biggest hurdle involves adapting to spending most of your time on your own. Parting ways with certain assets, such as your home, a treasured art collection or what have you, can also take a serious emotional toll.
If you think you and your ex have the type of relationship where you may be able to work together to reduce the amount you both spend on the divorce, consider mediation. In addition to potentially saving you a considerable sum, mediation can prove beneficial for any kids you share, and it may help you preserve at least some semblance of a relationship, post-divorce.