Seniors and Divorce

by Ricardo Barrera

If you are over the age of 60 in thinking about getting a divorce, you’re not alone. A recent article in the New York Times  reports that increased life expectancy is causing older men and women to choose to end unhappy unions with greater frequency than ever before. But if you and your spouse are looking to part ways, you will need to seek legal advice from an attorney who understands the special needs and concerns of senior citizens.

How assets will be divided is of especial importance to older couples. This is because financial stability is a major issue for seniors. After a divorce, not as much time remains for former partners to recover monetarily. Sometimes, the two parties involved find that they either need to put off retirement or go back to work at least part-time to support themselves.

Here is a list of factors that must be considered when dividing the communal property of two divorcing seniors:

  • maintenance costs for the family home and any other real estate the couple owned together,
  • eligibility for reverse mortgages,
  • property tax exemptions,
  • whether or not either spouse will be able to get public assistance and have the residency will affect benefit eligibility,
  • tax benefits for property ownership,
  • eligibility for Social Security benefits,
  • retirement benefits.

Another area of concern for divorcing seniors is health insurance and health care. How communal property gets divided may be impacted by the health situation of each respective partner. For example, spousal support may include requiring one partner to carry the other on his or her health insurance policy. And if a spouse has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the court may decide to appoint a legal guardian or attorney ad litem to ensure that the disabled spouse’s interests are being protected.

A divorce settlement for two seniors will likely also include issues pertaining to estates and estate planning such as:

  • setting up trusts for adult children and/or grandchildren,
  • creating a property life estate for one spouse that ensures the other will always have a place to live,
  • providing death benefits from a trust, retirement plan or life insurance policy.

Divorce is never easy for anyone and the older you get, the more complex a dissolution may become. That’s why you need to contact the attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm. Our team of experienced and compassionate legal professionals can streamline the divorce process so that you can get on with the business of rebuilding your life. Make an appointment with us and let us help you today!



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