Navigating the Complexities of Divorce in Later Stages of Life
As our country’s population ages, the divorce rates of spouses later-in-life (50+ years old) has increased. The term “Gray Divorce” is sometimes used for these types of divorces, referring to the demographic trend of an increasing divorce rate for older (“grey-haired”) couples in long-lasting marriages. Former American vice-presidential couple Tipper and Al Gore’s decision to separate after over 40 years of marriage is an example of this trend. “Gray Divorces” sometimes result under circumstances much different than “standard” divorces. For example, spouses living separated or estranged (but still legally married) for many years may find divorce necessary to qualify for or maximize benefits from assistance programs, such as medicaid. These types of divorces often present unique challenges, including division of pensions or retirement accounts, division of property held in trust, or division of non-liquid assets, such as stocks and bonds. Tax consequences and the effects of divorce on social security income, medicaid, and other assistance programs can also create a challenge. These types of divorces require familiarity with and planning for the needs of individuals later in life. The attorneys at Alford & Burkhart have provided guidance and advocacy to divorcing clients aging 60 years or older. Based upon our experience, knowledge, and understanding of the law, our attorneys use various techniques to help clients resolve divorces in a manner that best ensures financial stability later in life. Our firm is particularly suited to handle later-in-life, “gray,” or elderly divorces because of our experience in other practice areas, such as estate planning, medicaid planning, and veterans’ benefits. Our attorneys’ exceptional knowledge and understanding of the legal tools and techniques for resolving divorces, and our experience in other related areas of the laws, help us form a unique strategy for each client’s case that fits the particular interests of the client, the complexity of the case, and level of opposition to particular issues related to the divorce.