Our Birmingham divorce lawyers know there has been a lot of attention recently given to the phenomenon of the baby boom generation divorcing in their 50s, 60s and beyond.
A recent story in USA Today went so far as to say that divorce would stymie retirement for many folks.
We know there are many reasons why the divorce rates are skewing toward older couples, but it doesn't need to derail your retirement. It may look slightly different, but with the proper planning, solid financial advice and a good attorney fighting for your fair share, you shouldn't have any significant delays.
A new study by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University in Ohio found that the divorce rate for people over the age of 50 more than doubled from 1990 to 2010.
Again, we know that the baby boom generation is a large one, but these results actually were somewhat of a surprise to researchers because divorce among younger couples had tapered off fairly significantly. But older folks today know they are going to live a longer life. They may be 60, but they aren't willing to spend the next 30 years of their life with someone who doesn't make them happy. They want to get on with the rest of their lives, and the negative society stigma that might have prevented them in years past is gone too.
In 1990, one-tenth of all divorces involved people over the age of 50. Now, it's one-fourth.
Another major factor is the fact that women with careers are less likely to stay in a marriage for financial security. They may recognize that there will be some financial challenges, but she isn't willing to stay locked in a marriage that she doesn't want or need when she knows she can support herself. For a long time, that wasn't an option for women, and so now we're beginning to see this shift.
Those who are actually retired have the lowest rates of divorce.
Of course, we understand that those who are divorcing in their 50s and beyond are going to have different concerns than those who are divorcing in their 20s, 30s and 40s. One of our top priorities is making sure your health insurance is going to be covered, which might mean COBRA or some other temporary solution unless or until you apply for Medicare. If you have few job skills and relied on your spouse for income, one of our top priorities will be securing alimony for you.
In some cases, careful consideration needs to be given with regard to division of assets, particularly if the majority of your estate is in your home equity and your mortgage (like those of so many people these days) is underwater. We may consider having you first sort through some of that with a financial adviser and perhaps work on getting a loan modification or principle reduction before filing, so that we can improve the state of your overall assets.
And that brings up another point: Speaking with a financial adviser during the process just as a general safeguard is not a bad idea. Just make sure to inform your divorce attorney; we may even be able to work side-by-side with the planner to ensure that your savings and retirement are protected through this process.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Boomer divorce: A costly retirement roadblock, Feb. 26, 2013, By Rodney Brooks, USA Today