Today, it is far more common for couples over age 50 to divorce than it was in previous decades. There are many reasons for this phenomenon. There are several differences between these divorces and divorces among younger couples, such as the lack of child custody issues and the reality that one or both partners might not be able to rejoin the workforce, making alimony a much more prominent issue than it is among working-age individuals.
All divorces share one common element: the division of the couple’s marital property. In New Jersey, a divorcing couple’s marital property is divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. For a mature couple, each party’s age, health, and individual retirement accounts are considered heavily to ensure that each receives an appropriate share of the marital estate.
Gray Divorce is On the Rise
Divorces between older adults are often referred to as “gray divorces.” The number of gray divorces that occur in the United States is higher than it ever has been. Between 1990 and 2015, the number of divorces involving at least one party age 65 or older tripled.
One of the most significant reasons behind the rise of gray divorces is the lessened social stigma around divorce. Today, divorcing is not the taboo it once was; and for many older Americans, the benefits of getting out of an unhappy relationship outweigh the challenges of a divorce. People are also living longer, spurring individuals in their 50s, 60s, and 70s to look at their remaining years differently and choosing to prioritize their own happiness.
Issues Present in Divorces Among Older Adults
Generally, people in this age group no longer have minor children. No minor children in the household means not having to worry about child support and parenting schedules.
When one party has spent years or even decades out of the workforce, the court is more likely to award permanent spousal maintenance to ensure this partner does not suffer financially after the divorce. Typically, permanent alimony continues until one spouse dies or the receiving spouse remarries.
Dividing retirement benefits is also often a pressing issue in gray divorces. The court may use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to name an alternate payee to a retirement account. This means that the court adds a spouse’s name to the retirement account to allow them to roll funds from it into their own account, such as a traditional IRA.
Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at The Hartman Group Represent Divorcing Individuals of All Ages
No matter how old you are, what types of assets you have, and why you chose to end your marriage, it is always in your best interest to work with an experienced Cherry Hill divorce lawyer to complete the divorce process. Complete our online form or call 856-235-4511 to schedule your initial consultation with a qualified Cherry Hill divorce lawyer at The Hartman Group. Our office is located in Moorestown, New Jersey, and we serve clients from all over the state, including those in Cherry Hill, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Cumberland County, Cape May County, Atlantic County, and Salem County.