Estate Planning Advice After Middle-Aged Divorces

In the last few decades, the rate of divorce among middle-aged as well as older people in this country has risen. Studies of the issue have discovered that in recent history, the divorce rate for people over the age of 43 in the country has substantially increased. This increase in divorce is even more noticeable when focused exclusively on “gray divorce”, which involves people between the ages of 55 to 64. 

Regardless of what caused this increase, the increase in the number of these divorces has raised some special considerations that should be analyzed concerning divorces. This article touches on just a few of those considerations.

Spousal Support

Spousal support (or as it is sometimes called alimony) refers to payment from one former spouse to another concerning the end of a marriage. While the connection of spousal support to a divorce can occur regardless of age, spousal support takes on particular importance with middle-aged divorce. Current data suggests that the older a couple is, the more likely the marriage was longer. In most cases, the longer the marriage, the more likely that spousal support will be awarded. The older age of the involved parties may require some unique considerations when tackling the issue of spousal support. 

Retirement as well as reduced work can end up impacting a spouse’s ability to pay support at the same level as the spouse could once pay. While various methods exist to address this situation, these considerations are more likely to be involved in gray divorces and as a result, more often must be taken into consideration during these kinds of divorce. Additionally, issues of spousal support as well as the division of assets owned by the couples, are more likely to be considered together. This is because people who are middle-aged and older are more inclined to be closer to retirement than younger people and as such, property division to some degree must fill in where income and spousal support might leave off. 

Healthcare Insurance Access

The end of marriage constitutes a qualifying event for removing a spouse from another spouse’s insurance coverage. As a result, after a divorce is finalized, an adult is no longer eligible to be covered under a former spouse’s health insurance plan and will lose any coverage in their former spouse’s healthcare plan.  Despite the ages of the parties involved in a divorce, a spouse’s ability to continue to access private health insurance is often critical in many divorce cases. This is especially true when the spouse involved is not employed outside of the home or does not have access to private health insurance.

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