Gray divorce, or divorcing over 50 years old, is more common than ever before. As of 2015, five out of every 1,000 couples who separated were over the age of 50. A couple over 50 may seek a divorce for several reasons. Here are a few common reasons.
Possible Reasons for a Gray Divorce
As people live longer, they have more opportunities to grow and to grow apart. Nowadays, more women are financially independent and find no financial reasons to stay together. Even when unhappy in a marriage, some spouses prefer to wait until the children are grown before filing for divorce. Couples may no longer share the same interests and goals, and their marriage may no longer be strong enough to survive after their children leave. Some couples find that spending more time together isn’t a source of happiness or that their interests in retirement are no longer compatible as they age. Still, others wait until they are financially stable before they divorce.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Whatever the reason may be, divorce is difficult. It has the potential to be very financially and emotionally draining. However, proceedings with an uncontested divorce in Georgia can be easier if you take help from the right divorce lawyers by your side. Let’s have a look at what mistakes to avoid.
- Not Choosing the Right Divorce Process
Lawyers help couples fight for what they want in divorce litigation. It’s not uncommon for spouses to spend a significant amount of their marital estate on their attorneys, leaving them with little to divide or apply toward their debts. In states like Georgia, cooperating with your spouse often means you don’t have to hire an attorney or endure long, drawn-out court battles. You will also have more control over the outcome of your divorce.
- Not Having an Inventory of Assets
By keeping track of your assets and other financial information, you will know what you own. As a result, you can negotiate items such as alimony, child support, and property division in your settlement. Real assets should be included in the inventory, as well as investments and liquid assets.
Often, one partner knows more about a couple’s assets than the other. This individual likely knows exactly what and how many assets they own (cash and kind). If you are the other party, you should make an inventory of all your assets before dividing them. Hire a lawyer to assist you.
- Holding onto the Family Home
If you wish to retain the family home, you should determine if it is a good idea for you. Although the thought of moving the family may seem disruptive, keep in mind that even if you remove your name from the property title, you are still liable for payments on your joint mortgage. Your credit score could take a hit if your spouse misses payments or defaults altogether, and you could face tax penalties as well. Consider the maintenance costs of the property as well.
- Not Knowing What You Owe
You are accountable for half of your spouse’s obligations in places where community property rules apply, even though the debt is not yours. Some states that do not recognize community property (like Georgia) may hold you liable for jointly held credit cards or loans. You should obtain a full credit report for you and your spouse to avoid any surprises.
- Forgetting Tax Consequences
Consider the tax implications of your divorce settlement carefully. Any alimony you receive will be taxed. Even child support can be taxed. You should also be aware of the taxes and penalties associated with retirement asset distributions. You should also take into account capital gains taxes on appreciated assets.
- Forgetting About Health Insurance
You may have to obtain your insurance coverage if you are relying on your spouse’s work-sponsored health plan. Especially if you divorce before Medicare kicks in at age 65, this could be costly and unexpected. Under certain circumstances, you can keep your ex’s health insurance while separating your other assets.
- Don’t Forget About Your IRA Account and Social Security Benefits
Unless your divorce decree stipulates otherwise, a divorce decree cannot alter the beneficiary of your IRA account. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) protects the assets in your divorce settlement. With QDRO, you can divide your retirement assets into your shared 401(k) plans, 457 and/or 403(b) accounts, and pensions.
You can receive your spouse’s Social Security benefits if you meet certain requirements (such as being married for at least 10 years, not remarrying after the divorce, and being at least 62 years old).
- Wanting to Support Your Adult Children
Regardless of how much you love and want to help your children, your first objective right now is to guarantee that you have secure retirement savings and that you can aid your college-aged children with their educational costs.
- Keeping Your Wealth Hidden from Your Spouse
The consequences of hiding assets during a divorce can be severe if they are discovered afterward. It may result in additional legal fees and court time. A divorce petitioner in Georgia must disclose all financial information on the financial affidavit form. Affidavit fraud or testifying falsely in court is perjury and can result in sanctions (such as jail time, contempt of court, etc.).
- Your Divorce Advisors Are Not Your Friends
If you have the right group of professionals to help you with your divorce, you’ll be able to reduce the cost of litigation and avoid expensive mistakes you might make on your own. However, don’t let your anxiety lead you to believe that they are your friends. Your divorce advisors are paid out of the settlement amount. Keep track of how much they spend on your behalf. It is important to remember that your lawyer is not a confidant with whom you chat over a cup of coffee, but a professional you are paying per hour.
The Bottom Line
Divorce can be devastating at any age, but by planning and avoiding these all-too-common mistakes, you can avoid financial problems and heartbreak down the road.