Although the law governs the divorce process in general, no two divorces will be the same. This is because all divorces come with their own unique set of factors that are specific to the couple seeking the divorce. For example, one factor that can separate one divorce from another is the age of the parting spouses. When divorcing spouses are over 50 years of age, special considerations will be required under Pennsylvania law.
A Look at the “Gray” Divorce
The term “gray divorce” is often used to describe divorces that involve individuals who are over the age of 50. According to a study conducted by sociologists with Bowling Green State University, the rate of divorce among individuals age 50 or older actually doubled between 1990 and 2010.
When older couples choose to go their separate ways, practically every facet of their lives will change in some way. However, it should be noted that many of the issues that arise in divorces between younger couples may or may not apply to a gray divorce.
Let’s consider the issue of spousal support for a moment. In divorces involving younger individuals, it is not uncommon for a spouse to seek some form of temporary support. However, when couples have been married for many years, permanent alimony is fairly normal.
There is also the issue of the division of retirement funds. Older couples typically have much more at stake in that regard than their younger counterparts. Such funds are likely to be split down the middle, which is a costly blow to an older individual’s retirement plans and goals.
What About the House?
Many couples who have been together for numerous years have accumulated a large amount of possessions and assets, not the least of which is a home (or two). Homes are generally the most valuable asset that couples share and when the couple has spent the bulk of their married life together in one house, the emotional attachment is often great for both parties.
Still, it is important for seniors to look beyond any emotional attachment they have and consider the pros and cons of keeping the family home. For instance, if you are awarded the home, can you afford to maintain it from a physical and financial standpoint? Also, if you do get the house, will it be worth losing some of the other assets and/or accounts you have that will likely be used to accommodate the other spouse who did not get the home?
Kids Might Still be an Issue for Older Couples
In the majority of divorces involving older couples, issues like visitation and child support are nonexistent. However, in some cases, there may be adult children who are still in need of some form of financial support from their parents.
Adult children may have a different reaction to their parents divorcing. Still, it is important for parents to keep that in mind when speaking of the divorce with grown children, as well as younger ones.
If you are a senior going through a divorce and you have questions or concerns about your legal options, contact the Conshohocken divorce attorneys with Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP at (610) 825-3634 or use our online contact form.