What Does Divorce After 50 Look Like?
More Americans 50 and older are divorced than widowed. A half-century ago, only 2.8 percent of Americans older than 50 were divorced. By 2000, the number increased to 11.8 percent. While many divorcing couples face the stress of selling a marital home or arranging for new housing, for those over age 50, there are other specific concerns which must be addressed in a divorce case, including:
- Delayed Retirement: A divorcing couple will need to divide the marital portion of their retirement accounts, including pensions, Individual Retirement Accounts, 401(k) accounts and more. Depending on the dollar values involved in these divisions, either one or both spouses might choose to continue working in order to live comfortably. A Pittsburgh divorce attorney can review your situation and develop a strategy for dividing your marital assets in a way that best protects your interests.
- Healthcare Concerns: A healthy couple in their 20s might be able to get divorced without giving much attention to which spouse maintains health insurance. For an individual with health concerns, as well as those over age 50, it is necessary to carefully consider which spouse maintains insurance coverage, what insurance options will be made available after the divorce is finalized and who will be responsible for the payment of any uninsured medical expenses. While many people have insurance coverage provided to them as a result of their employment, for a stay-at-home mom, a retired worker or an individual who is unable to work as a result of a medical condition, it is critical to make sure some type of coverage will continue throughout the divorce proceedings and beyond.
- Social Security Benefits: In some instances, an individual filing for Social Security benefits has the option of requesting payment based upon their own employment record or the employment record of a current or former spouse. When certain criteria are met, the person filing for benefits is allowed to select whichever option affords them the largest monthly dollar amount. The Social Security Administration has established specific requirements dictating when a spouse can elect benefits based upon the employment record of a former spouse including:
- Length of Marriage: The couple must have been married for at least 10 years.
- Marital Status: The person filing for benefits, based upon the employment history of a former spouse, remains unmarried.
- Age: The individual filing for benefits must be age 62 or older. The rules applicable to Social Security benefits are complicated and can be difficult to apply.
The attorneys at Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC, are familiar with the specific challenges facing divorcing couples in their 50s, as well as older adults. Our attorneys can work to develop a plan to preserve your assets and prepare for your retirement after divorce.
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