It really doesn’t matter when you decide to file for divorce. The process will be stressful and disruptive for your family. Divorces later in life after many years of marriage and possibly raising a child together have become more common in recent years.
Such gray divorces often occur when any children the couple has raised have already left the family home and when the spouses are very close to or already past the age of retirement. Gray divorces have their own unique set of issues that may arise, and you need to prepare yourself for the complications involved in later-in-life divorces.
- Your living arrangements will likely change
Whether you intended to stay in your marital home throughout your retirement or wanted to buy a condo and move to a different area, your housing plans for retirement will almost certainly need to change after a divorce.
You may need to sell the home where you live to share the proceeds with your spouse, and you may no longer be able to afford the same kind of amenities you could have with both of your assets and retirement incomes. Living with roommates or possibly even moving in with family members may be the best solution for those divorcing later in life.
- Your family relationships will change
When you divorce later in life, you don’t have to necessarily worry about it shared custody, it can be a real challenge for many people. However, you will still need to discuss the changing family situation with your children.
Adult children won’t depend on you for financial support during the divorce, but they could very well have an intense emotional reaction to your news. Older children are more likely to take sides in a divorce and to choose to cut one parent out if they blame them for the end of the marriage. The family get-togethers with all of your children and grandchildren may become much more complicated or may cease to occur after the two of you divorce.
- You may need to supplement your resources
The two of you will likely have to share retirement savings and your other resources unless you have a marital agreement that states otherwise. You may need to continue working during the first few years of your scheduled retirement to put more money aside to support yourself later, or you might need to make a claim against your spouse’s Social Security retirement benefits after the divorce.
A careful review of your financial resources can give you an idea of how to supplement what you currently have to allow for independence during your retirement. Recognizing that there will be unique challenges involved in a gray divorce will help you better prepare for a process that will help you better enjoy your golden years.