Elder law is a large legal umbrella covering many fields of law with a focus on planning for the legal needs of individuals in their later years. Some of these legal needs include divorce.
Yes… many people divorce in their later years as well. In fact, there has been such a rise in this area of practice, that the process has claimed the nationally recognized nickname of “silver divorce”. Over the past two decades, divorce in people over the age of 50 has grown from 1 in 10 couples, to a staggering 1 in 4.
What is “Silver Divorce” and Why is it Unique?
A silver divorce is defined as the dissolution of marriage for couples over 50. There are many theories on this astonishing increase. Some attribute this growth to the increase in life expectancy, while others give weight to a shift in society’s values, changing the way that Americans view marriage in general. But one cause of divorce strikes our older population more than any other age group… finances.
Finances are one of the most common causes of divorce for all age groups. Opposites may attract for many reasons, but when two people are opposite in their financial strategies, divorce often follows. Imagine a situation where one person is a spender and one is a saver. The philosophy of saving for the future vs. living for today can often lead to conflict in which divorce becomes the only conclusion.
However, for our older population financial reasons for divorce may be vastly different than other age groups. In fact, sometimes older people who love each other and have no desire to divorce, find themselves confronting that possibility due to medical costs. Unfortunately, we see all too often that a couple faces costly care needs for one, but not both parties. In these cases, funding sources such as the VA Aid & Attendance Program, Medicaid, and Long-term Care Insurance can often help. But because government financial requirements are so strict for many public benefits, these couples sometimes face a situation where divorce is the best, if not only, financial option.
Why Choose an Elder Law Attorney for your “Silver Divorce”?
Older couples who divorce will face unique challenges. They are less likely to be discussing child custody or visitation. Instead, they will likely be faced with the concerns of alimony, retirement funding, division of assets, and long-term care. Of course, these topics are important to any age group, but for those over the age of 50, who have fewer working years to make up for any losses from a divorce, these topics become critical in planning their future wellbeing.
If you are over 50 and considering divorce, also consider that not all attorneys are accustomed to representing the unique legal needs facing the senior client. Many divorce attorneys are busy with younger clients. They may not be cognizant of the fact that the way your divorce settlement is handled today, could have permanent and drastic effects on your future ability to receive public benefits, including VA and Medicaid. They may not be familiar with the impact of taxes, the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act of 1988, or your Estate Planning. The Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. can assist all your Elder Law needs, including:
- Contested and Uncontested Dissolution of Marriage
- Equitable distribution of assets
- Pensions & Retirement funds
- Pre-marital assets & gifts
- Real Property, personal property, & Financial asset distribution
And if you ever decide to marry again, we will be able to help you with a prenuptial agreement to protect your golden years, should you find love a second time around. If you think a private consultation about the impact of divorce may help you, we invite your call. To schedule an appointment, call us at… We look forward to serving you! Call to schedule a consultation at 321-426-1848 or send us an email.