By: Marilyn Gale Vilyus
An increasing number of divorcing clients are over the age of 50. While some of these represent second (or third) marriages, many times the client has decided to divorce after many years of marriage, frequently thirty years or more.
While older clients have all the same issues to deal with as their younger, divorcing counterparts, they also have additional issues which require special attention. Some of these are mentioned below:
Often a stay-at-home spouse may be forced into the job market because of a divorce.
If the spouse is older, this can present serious challenges. Even if the client is educated and has past previous experience, it may have been a long time since the client has used her skills.
It is essential that the client have the financial ability to support herself (or himself) moving forward.
A client may have had his or her health insurance as a result of a spouse’s employment. If the client does not yet qualify for medicaire, health insurance can be an expensive unanticipated cost.
The client’s attorney should make sure to include COBRA or some compensation for this medical cost as a part of the divorce settlement.
While the division of retirement benefits is always an important part of a divorce settlement, it is of imminent importance to the elderly client. The attorney should investigate options the working spouse might have to protect the rights and maximum benefits available to the non-participating spouse.
We can no longer assume that social security benefits are un-taxable. Specific inquiries should be made so as to accurately determine how much exact financial income the divorcing client will have available.
Sale of the Marital Residence
It is possible that the elderly divorcing client does not have the credit or income available to either purchase a new home or obtain an apartment lease. With an apartment, the issues of payment of first and last month’s rent and the security deposit may need to be addressed. Moving costs may also need to be included as a part of the divorce settlement.
The client should realistically appraise the utility of his or her current vehicle. What is the monthly payment? What is the appraised value? How long do you anticipate that the vehicle will continue to remain in good working order? If any of these are valid concerns, address this as a part of the final agreement.
Although the above issues are not a comprehensive list, they are reflective of the types of additional concerns to consider when coming to a divorce agreement for clients 55 years of age and older.
Call us at 281.550.6650 for a free consultation if you or someone you know over the age of 50 is considering a divorce.