According to a Pew Research Center study, divorce for people over age fifty in the U.S. has doubled since 1990, and tripled for those sixty-five and older.* It’s understandable, considering people are living longer. And in some senses, “gray divorce” tends to be a bit easier—children are usually grown and not living at home, so you don’t have to deal with custody issues or child support. But in other regards, it can be more complicated. You want to ensure by dividing your estate and retirement that you are not going to decimate your ability to retire or stay retired.
Here’s 5 things to keep in mind if you’re getting divorced at an older age:
1. Your Retirement Plan will likely be divided in half.
You will probably need to have a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) written into your divorce decree, which divides any retirement or pensions. Learn more about QDROs here. (link: https://coillaw.com/2018/07/09/retirement-plans-divided-divorce/)
2. Alimony will most likely be involved.
In Utah, the court often awards alimony to the non-working spouse and MAY award alimony up to the number of years of the marriage. So if you were married for thirty years and were the primary earner, you could be obligated to pay alimony for thirty years (or until one of the parties dies). Learn more about alimony here. (link: https://coillaw.com/2016/08/31/7-myths-alimony-utah/)
3. You can’t have the money from your house, and live in it too.
The court will most likely split the marital assets evenly between you and your ex, so selling the house and each taking half of the money is usually the best option. If you personally want to keep your marital home, know you’ll be giving up money or other assets elsewhere, such as receiving less of the pension or alimony.
4. Find a new support group.
It’s easy to get isolated as an older person. Often, family friends and adult children choose sides during a divorce, which is especially tricky with long-term marriages ending in divorce. With that said, wait until the divorce is finalized before you start dating again. Try expanding your circle through community or church events, volunteering, or look into therapy (link: https://coillaw.com/2018/01/31/therapy-cant-save-marriage-let-save-money/)
5. Next time around, get a prenuptial agreement.
Once all the work has gone into dividing retirement after your divorce, it gets even more complicated trying to divide it again if you get another divorce (which is more likely for second and third marriages). Learn more about pre-nups here. (link: https://coillaw.com/2017/06/28/aint-sayin-gold-digger-say-pre-nup/)
Getting Help with Your Utah Divorce Case
If you are looking into a Utah divorce and need legal help, we’re here for you. You need to ensure you consult with a competent family law attorney that understands the legalities of divorce and retirement in Utah and will help put your mind at ease so you don’t get taken advantage of. At CoilLaw, LLC, Salt Lake City Divorce attorney Jill Coil knows how to advise you during a divorce to help you achieve the best settlement and/or result possible. At CoilLaw we are ready and available to help you through your legal action. If you need legal advice concerning a Utah family law issue, call Jill Coil at CoilLaw LLC in Utah at (801) 939-6027 today.