Guest Blog by Karen Dorsey: 10 Tips for Divorcing in your 50's
Are you going to be divorced in your 50’s? According to research on divorce in the U.S., divorce rates are declining —EXCEPT for people over 50! Twenty years ago, just 1 in 10 spouses who split was age 50 or older; today, according to Dr. Susan Brown, co-author of The Gray Divorce Revolution, it is 1 in 4!
Divorce at any age is devastating, but after age 50, it can be particularly devastating financially.
This is why it is critical to have a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst on your team. We see so many individuals struggle with the worry of whether or not they are going to receive spousal support or alimony.
Is this what has happened to you?
You may have been a “stay at home” parent who supported your spouse and raised children and took care of your home and now you have been told you have to support yourself.
Your spouse may have not wanted you to work and now, she or he doesn’t want to pay spousal support and expects you to figure it out in your 50’s.
I was divorced in my 50’s and saw first-hand the impact of this event in my life. I wasn’t prepared, didn’t have all the information I needed, was struggling so deeply emotionally, and did not have a team of professionals to help me make good decisions about my future lifestyle.
We don’t want this to happen to you.
According to government statistics, household income drops by about 25% for men and more than 40% for women. And as a woman’s life expectancy rises into their 80’s, women may find themselves living longer with a lot less.
So what do you need to know that can help you avoid this devastation?
1. Failing to create an inventory of assets.
Often one partner has a better understanding of the couple’s finances. If you’re the other partner you may not be up to speed. You’ll want to take an inventory of all assets, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance policies. Ask us for a free that will help you get organized.
2. Holding on to the house.
Your CDFA® will help you determine whether or not that is a good option for you. They will help you figure out if you can afford the mortgage. It may be your refuge, but it can be a money pit – you must consider upkeep, property taxes and emergency repairs.
3. Not knowing what you owe.
Promising “to have and to hold” can bounce back to bite you! If you’re in a community property state, you’ll be held responsible for half of your spouses debt even if the debt isn’t in your name.
4. Ignoring tax consequences.
5. Forgetting about health insurance.
If you’ve been covered under your spouse’s policy, you may be in for a shocking surprise when you have to get your own policy. I know I didn’t take that into account and my health insurance premiums tripled!
6. Rolling over your ex’s retirement account into an IRA.
7. Supporting your adult children.
I know you love your kids, but YOU are the priority now!
8. Hiding assets from your spouse.
You may be tempted to try this so it looks like you have less money to contribute, but this is illegal and can cost you more in legal fees and court time – very risky and can lead to huge negative consequences.
9. Underestimating your expenses.
Remember, we talk about income covering one set of household expenses is now divided into two. We at Smarter Divorce Solutions can help you to take a realistic look at how much money you’ll need to live on and be sure you can cover all their expenses on your own without relying on your ex.
10. Thinking your divorce attorney is your friend.
Remember, your attorney is charging you for every phone call, email, and written document he is preparing for you.
That is why having a team of professionals including a CDFA® and a Certified Divorce Coach to help you get organized will save money now. When you’re feeling so afraid and getting information online and from friends and family, it’s so easy to miss something that may be critical to your future lifestyle. And there are also skills and tools we provide for our clients on how to negotiate a settlement agreement and get what you really deserve!
Divorce is devastating at any age, but it’s especially difficult if you’re in your 50’s… Please know there are resources and support out there and you don’t need to do this alone. It’s your time now and waiting any longer is putting off the inevitable.