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Special Concerns for Divorce After Age 50

 Posted on June 13,2019 in Illinois Divorce

St. Charles Gray Divorce Lawyer

In the past two decades, divorce after age 50 has become far more common, leading to the popular term “gray divorce.” What seems to be causing this, and what should you do if you find yourself considering divorce after age 50?

What Has Contributed to the Increase in Gray Divorce?

Experts hypothesize that longevity and technology trends have converged to make divorce more appealing to those over age 50. In 1970, the average American lifespan was 70 years. If spouses reached age 55 or 60 and felt they had grown apart, most would just stick it out rather than be alone. Today, the average lifespan is about 79 years, almost a decade more. Members of the Baby Boom generation who are now in their 50’s and 60’s also expect to remain healthy and active longer. When they have finished raising their children or their careers have peaked, they could be living for 30 more years. If life with their current spouse is no longer appealing, they feel they have an opportunity to do something different in their remaining decades. They have higher expectations for their remaining years in part because of what they see on the internet. Divorce seems a more viable option than it did in the past, in part because of the reduced stigma of divorce and the ease of meeting a new partner through online dating.

How Should You Prepare for Divorce After Age 50?

One of the most important concerns for people who divorce after age 50 is whether you have sufficient income and assets to support two separate households, particularly as you and your spouse transition into retirement. Unlike people who divorce in their 30’s, you do not have as much time to financially recover from the divorce. Depending on your financial situation, you may need to consider some hard questions, such as:

  • Are you prepared to downsize your lifestyle?

  • Are you willing and able to work more hours or transition into a better-paying job?

  • What will you do about health insurance?

  • Do you have enough retirement savings to supplement what you will receive from Social Security?

Here are some things you should know about Illinois divorce law which may impact your decision:

  • If you have been a stay-at-home spouse, you have a very good chance of being granted alimony, aka spousal support or maintenance. If you have been married at least 20 years, the court could award you indefinite maintenance, which could continue for the rest of your life. However, the amount of maintenance you are granted will depend on your income and your spouse’s income. If your spouse retires and their income drops substantially, your maintenance payments could also drop. You will want to engage a finance-savvy divorce lawyer to ensure that your divorce settlement provides you with sufficient income through retirement.

  • Whatever retirement savings and pension benefits you have built up during your marriage will typically have to be divided with your spouse. You may also have to sell your marital home and split the proceeds. If you have sole or partial ownership in a business that was acquired during your marriage, that asset could also be subject to division depending on how the ownership is structured.

  • If you currently receive health insurance through your spouse’s employer, Illinois law protects you with the spousal continuation privilege (215 ILCS 5/367.2). This law requires the employer to allow you to remain on their insurance plan after your divorce for up to two years if you are under age 55 or until you are eligible for Medicare if you are age 55 or over at the time of your divorce. However, unless you negotiate otherwise in your divorce settlement, you will have to pay the full premium for this insurance, both the employee portion and the portion the employer would normally cover.

St. Charles Divorce Lawyers for Clients of All Ages

If you are thinking about divorce, one of your most important decisions may be your choice of a lawyer. For an elite St. Charles divorce lawyer, call Weiler & Associates, Inc. at 630-331-9110. We focus our practice exclusively on divorce and family law.


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