Just as every marriage is unique, every divorce is unique as well. Divorcing couples face different challenges depending on various factors, including age.
According to Psychology Today, the divorce rate among people over 50 has doubled since 1990. As an older couple, there are several issues you must consider when your marriage ends.
In many marriages, one spouse works full-time while the other runs the household and raises children. After divorce, the spouse who stayed at home generally needs to find a job. However, for older people with limited work experience, this is not always an option. In such cases, the spouse who earns greater income may need to pay spousal support, also known as alimony.
Generally speaking, marital property consists of property you and your spouse acquired together while married, and separate property consists of property you acquired before marriage or as a gift or inheritance. However, when couples are together for a long time, they often commingle their assets. Examples of commingled assets include:
- A house you brought into the marriage and used marital funds to renovate
- Inherited money that you invested into a joint account
- An investment account that you opened while single but later contributed marital assets to
- Property that you purchased during the marriage using separate funds
A prenuptial agreement can help prevent the commingling of assets.
If you have a pension, IRA or 401(k), your spouse may be entitled to part of it. If you opened the account before you were married, however, only the portion you contributed marital assets to is considered marital property.
Ending a decades-long marriage can be highly complicated. Older couples should be aware of the financial considerations that come with divorce.