One in four couples over 50 are ending their marriages. The ideal that couples married after a decade or two are firmly set on the path of til death do us part is no longer a guarantee and more people are going through later life divorces. Divorce rates for Americans 50 and older are on the rise, doubling between 1990 and 2014 and at a stage where most people are planning for their retirement dreams, couples are facing the tough decisions that come with a dissolution of a long marriage. While it may not be something you want to think about, there are considerations to keep in mind when going through a ‘grey’ divorce and that can help to simplify the transition. Here are some of those ramifications to think about.
The financial consideration
In any separation, there are bound to be financial considerations. However, the financial fallout from a divorce later in life can take a different route. In addition to the standard division of assets and equity built while married, couples also have to face the financial changes in everyday life. It is essential that you take some time to research and understand your pre and post-divorce finances.
Considerations such as the cost of living after divorce and reapportionment of retirements funds are some topics that come to mind. Statistics show that post-divorce household income can drop by 25 and 40 percent for men and women respectively. While child support may not be an element in a later divorce, you may have to address each other’s financial obligations as you go forward. In addition, at this stage, most couples are earnestly preparing and planning for their retirement. That means your pensions, retirement funds and investments along with your social security are added factors that play a bigger part in the dissolution process than it would at age 25 or 30.
The family consideration
For couples divorcing later in life (or over 50), their kids are likely to be grown or at an older age. While it is often highlighted the effects a divorce can have on younger kids, adult children are also to be considered. You may not have to figure out visitation or custody with kids 18 and older but if you are a parent to a teenager, they are still subject a visitation schedule. Another issue is the payment of college tuition if your children are college bound. As a couple, you would have paid as a unit but after a divorce, each parent is responsible for their own finances.
Emotionally, adults can face tough and confusing feelings about their parents ending their marriage. As their parent, think of how best to be present and supportive of their emotions during this transition time and even after. According to Psychology Today, older children can be affected in their own future relationships or even their current ones by family members. A good step towards negating this is to think about setting about therapy for you and your family, giving you the tools to navigate the divorce.
The self-care consideration
Even with incredible legal and familial support, the end of a marriage is still a loss that should be processed and grieved. Making peace with it and your emotions regarding your divorce is very important is just as important as all the legal paperwork. This is where self-care comes in. Taking time to understand and to process what life looks for you after a long marriage is a great step as you begin to adjust to your new life. Your retirement dreams may change without your spouse and also possibly, your lifestyle. Elements such as life insurance and securing a stream of income are also a part of self-care. You may have been covered by your spouse’s insurance prior to the divorce. However, that changes with a divorce. Make a start with comparing the best insurance deals out there for you.
Regardless of the age or stage of life, going through a divorce comes with many difficult emotions and decisions to make. The end of a marriage is a great loss, to anyone. However, it is not the end. With some forethought and careful navigation, you can find your way to happiness after divorce.