Two older people on couch looking angrily at each other

Considerations When Divorcing Later in Life

Shelly Jean John, Attorney at Law Dec. 1, 2021

Divorce is quite common in California, but it is not limited to younger couples alone. When older couples file for divorce later in life, the whole process can be emotional, yet liberating. Moreover, a late-life divorce can affect different aspects of your life – including your family, assets, estate plan, Social Security benefits, and retirement benefits. If you are considering divorcing later in life, you must speak with an experienced California divorce attorney for detailed guidance.

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, my knowledgeable legal guidance allows me to help older couples navigate the complexities of late-life divorce. I’m available to discuss your unique situation and help you understand considerations when divorcing later in life. As your legal counsel, I can help protect your best interests and help you move forward as quickly as possible. My firm is proud to serve clients across Ontario, Riverside, and San Bernardino County, California.

Common Reasons People Divorce Later in Life

Even older couples who have been together for several years can decide to call it quits and go their separate ways. Here are some common reasons why people divorce later in life:

  • Unresolved Issues: Ongoing disagreements and issues that never get resolved will eventually destroy any existing love between the couples. A late-life divorce may be the ultimate option.

  • Growing Apart: Lack of attention, betrayals, lack of communication, or a major disagreement can make older couples grow apart and decide to go their separate ways.

  • Retirement: After retirement, older couples have more time to spend with each other. Unfortunately, they realize how much they’ve grown apart due to working, raising kids, and being occupied.

  • The Last Child Left Home: If the spouses centered their marriage on taking care of their kids, they might see no other reasons to continue with the marriage once their last child leaves home.

  • A Life-Changing Experience: When an older adult goes through a life-changing experience, such as a health scare, critical illness, or death in the family, they may start reevaluating life from a new perspective.

Others: Other reasons for divorcing later in life include:

  • Unwillingness to deal with the implications of aging and changes in the body system.

  • Differences in lifestyle choices

  • Active addictions

  • Conflict in values

  • Desire to live independently or achieve greater independence

  • Regrets about earlier life choices

  • Lack of physical touch or intimacy

A knowledgeable lawyer can help you understand the vital issues related to late-life divorce and enlighten you about some of the important considerations.

Situations to Consider

If you are contemplating filing for late-life divorce, here are some important things to consider:

  • Property Division: In decade-long marriages, the division of marital assets can involve a lot of complexities. Trying to differentiate between marital assets and a separate property or determining the exact value of retirement funds can make the property division process very complicated.

  • Alimony: Spousal support can make a significant difference for seniors going through a divorce. Due to advanced age, the potential paying spouse may be unable to pay spousal support due to limited income or resources. Likewise, the recipient spouse may not be able to work, learn a skill, or secure a new job to become self-supporting.

  • Retirement: Dividing retirement benefits in a late-life divorce usually depends on the type of retirement account and rules associated with it. In most cases, a separate court order will need to divide the couple’s retirement benefits.

  • Social Security: Just like retirement benefits, the California court may be unable to divide Social Security benefits for older couples. Therefore, they may need to enlist an experienced financial analyst or tax expert to help review and help divide your Social Security benefits fairly and equitably.

  • Estate Planning: Also, individuals who file for late-life divorce must review or modify the beneficiaries in their will, retirement plans, powers of attorney, and advanced directives. You may need to remove your estranged spouse from any designated role or beneficiary and ensure that the new modifications reflect your present wishes.

In addition to these, there are other important considerations when thinking about a late-life divorce. An experienced divorce attorney can evaluate your unique situation and help you navigate crucial decisions.

How an Experienced Attorney Can Help

Filing for divorce as a senior can be an emotional situation. On a positive note, a late-life divorce can be blissful, liberating, and help you achieve peace of mind. Nevertheless, there are several essential considerations when divorcing later in life. A knowledgeable family law attorney can enlighten you about your possible options and help you make intelligent decisions.

At the Law Office of Shelly Jean John, I have the resources, experience, and diligence to assist and guide seniors and older couples in family law matters, including divorce. With my in-depth understanding of the laws addressing family law cases involving late-life divorce, I can help guide you through the often complex legal proceedings.

Contact my firm – the Law Office of Shelly Jean John – today to schedule a simple consultation with a skilled divorce attorney. I help review every aspect of your unique situation and present the experienced guidance and brilliant advocacy you need to navigate key decisions in your late-life divorce. My firm is proud to serve clients across Ontario, Riverside, and San Bernardino County, California.