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How to handle your gray divorce

Divorce at any age in California can be difficult both financially and emotionally. However, gray divorce, or divorce involving those 50 and older, has increased significantly, particularly among those who have gotten remarried. In fact, statistics show that gray divorce has doubled since the 1990s. Before you file the necessary paperwork, it is important to learn more about the gray divorce process.

For people over 50, experts often suggest a collaborative divorce where both spouses work with their lawyers to work out their issues outside of the courtroom through mediation and negotiations. This is often the best way to come to an agreement that is fair to both parties. Couples over 50 that have adult children may not have to worry about child custody and child support. As a result, their agreements will often deal with property and asset division, as well as alimony.

Couples considering a gray divorce should also try to wait 10 years before making things official. According to Social Security laws, if you and your soon-to-be ex are at least 62-years-old and have been married at least 10 years, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits upon your divorce based on your ex's work record. However, in order to receive benefits based on your ex, you must be unmarried, even if your ex isn't. Also, the benefits you are entitled to based on your ex's record must be more than what you would receive based on your own work record

Couples that are already divorced may consider renegotiating their divorce settlements, in light of the new tax law. Starting in 2019, alimony payments will not be tax-deductible, but any alimony received will not be taxed. This new law may benefit the spouse receiving alimony over the payer spouse.

Divorcing over the age of 50 can bring its own set of challenges, but consulting with an attorney may help you protect your assets and prepare for post-divorce life.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Gray divorce can have big financial impact," Eileen Ambrose, March 2, 2018

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