Are there special considerations for a divorce later in life?

| Dec 22, 2014 | Property Division |

Readers of this divorce law blog are probably familiar with the equal division of property applied by divorce courts in Ohio.

Although specific assets may be awarded to just one spouse, the basic rule is that each spouse is entitled to one-half of the value of the marital estate. The same approach is generally used regarding debts or other liabilities of the marital estate: each spouse must take responsibility for his or her fair share, and the default rule is an even split.

However, special considerations may come into play when a couple divorces later in life. Sometimes termed “gray divorces,” the marital split of spouses who are over 50 requires couples to think not just of their marital estate, but also retirement assets. For example, a divorcee who is over 62 and still unmarried may be able to receive Social Security benefits from his or her former spouse, even if that spouse has remarried. 

Additional concerns may arise when a spouse who has been covered under the family health insurance needs to find separate insurance. For older adults, that search may be more difficult. However, divorce courts are often willing to entertain a variety of settlement proposals. In some cases, it may make sense for a former spouse to continue coverage under the other spouse’s plan. If that isn’t possible, the cost of obtaining a new health insurance plan should factor into any divorce negotiations.

Finally, a couple that divorces when they are over 50 years of age may also need to rethink their estate plans. It may well be that some assets designated as an inheritance may need to be curtailed, as divorced individuals will have more expenses living apart. To learn more about issues that can arise when older couples divorce, check out our firm’s website page on property division.

Source: USA Today, “Protect finances in later-in-life divorce,” Anna Helhoski, Nov. 23, 2014

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