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Seek advice from a divorce attorney in a 'gray' divorce

Divorcing later in life brings about a set of issues that younger people don't have.

Instead of settling issues about child custody or support, people over 50 typically are more concerned about different challenges.

Just what makes divorce over 50 different?

Social Security. A percent can receive 50% of their ex-spouse's Social Security amount at their full retirement age, as long as that amount is greater than their own. While there might be special circumstances that impact some cases, in general, a person can claim benefits based on their former spouse's work history if:

  • The marriage lasted at least 10 years.
  • The filer is not married.
  • The former spouse is at least 62.

Retirement accounts, such as 401(k) and IRAs. These accounts can be divided in a divorce through the process known as a qualified domestic relations order. Pensions also can be divided in a divorce, although that is more difficult than sharing other retirement funds.

Housing. Older people who have owned their homes for a number of years could be mortgage-free and have a ton of equity in their homes, making it a large retirement asset. How will divorcing couple divide it? Will one stay in the home and try to buy out the other's half? Will the property be sold? Would a reverse mortgage - where you receive money each month instead of paying money - provide the displaced spouse with money for living expenses?

There are some high-value decisions to be made in what is known as a "gray divorce." It's wise to get the advice from a divorce attorney even before you start the divorce process.


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