“Gray Divorce” – When Couples Grow Older and Grow Apart

A recent NPR story noted that Americans over 50 today are twice as likely to get divorced compared to their counterparts 20 years ago. There are a lot of reasons why – divorce isn’t as stigmatized as it used to be, more women are financially independent, and people are more active and living longer and regard 50 differently.

http://www.npr.org/2014/02/24/282105022/older-americans-breakups-are-causing-a-graying-divorce-trend 

One of the biggest issues facing older couples divorcing in Florida is the presumption of permanent alimony. While many couples over 50 will be married at least the necessary amount of time for alimony to be rewarded, retirement can affect the court’s determination of how much is to be paid and whether alimony is to be reduced or terminated. There’s precedent in case law that when a husband reaches retirement age, there could be modifications to the pre-retirement alimony based on his financial condition when he retires.

While financial considerations are important for all divorcing couples, especially with divorcing casting a different light on how retirement will look, I’ve found that older couples with children and grandchildren are ultimately concerned with preserving those relationships. In those cases, making compromises about finances can go a long way toward diffusing a stressful situation, and helping everyone in the family move forward. Older couples need to come into divorce negotiations with financial goals in mind, but should not let that be the only factor. I will discuss more considerations for  mature couples going through divorce in my next series of blog posts.

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