Dealing With Divorce Near or During Retirement

Divorce rates for those under 40 are declining. According to a Pew Research Center report from March of 2017, the divorce rate for married people in the US age 50 and older has increased to about double what it was in 1990.  There are several factors that could be contributing to this increase.  People realize they are living longer and aren’t as willing to spend that time with someone they no longer love.   When children grow up and move out the common bond of the marriage disappears. Women are becoming financially independent, some out-earning their spouses, so they no longer feel a financial need to stay together.


Divorce is difficult anytime.  When divorcing at an older age, even if the children are grown, there are still several challenges to navigate.  How will the divorce be handled?  What are the emotional implications?  What will your finances and tax situation look like?  Will you have to get new health insurance?  What support do you want to provide your adult children?

A divorce is a legal process and you should seek legal counsel.  That doesn’t mean divorce has to be adversarial.  Options include collaborative divorce and or mediation.

When divorcing at a later age that often means the end to a long marriage.  Take time to consider how you feel.  Whether scared or excited it is important to understand and work through your emotions so that you can make sound decisions during the divorce process. Working with a thrid party advisor can help you remove emotions from the decesion making process.

Of course, the financial ramifications are a major focus in divorce.   The first step should be an exhaustive list of assets and debts.  Additionally, seek out the assistance of a tax expert to fully understand how your choices will affect your tax liability.  Learn and understand your options for retirement accounts including those of your spouse you may be awarded in the divorce.  Always remember that a Certified Financial Planner has the experience and expertise to help you understand the pros and cons of each scenario you may face.

Health insurance is often an after-thought in divorce.   Determine ahead of time where your coverage will come from during each stage of the process and obtain an estimate of what the cost will be.


While the children may be grown, you may still want to support them to the extent possible or help save for a grandchild’s college education.  First, make sure you will have the necessary retirement income to support yourself, then consider your desires to support your children and possibly grandchildren.  If you and your current spouse share the same goals for supporting your children that can be part of the overall plan.

With the correct counsel and assistance, divorce can be completed in an amicable manner.  Once the dust settles and all the finances are in order you can focus on your future and begin to craft your new life. 

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