Divorcing? Considering retirement? Know your next steps
About a month ago, we wrote a post about gray divorce, the term applied to the phenomenon of older couples getting divorced at much higher rates than decades prior. Today, we’d like to examine a detail of the gray divorce phenomenon and use it to give some older couples advice about how to proceed with their divorce, if they are going through one.
Retirement is obviously on the minds of many older people. So when they are in a marriage that has lasted 30, 40 or even 50 years, it can be shocking to hear your spouse say “I want a divorce.” You also may not be prepared for it, both literally and financially. Maybe you have a home you are still trying to pay for. Maybe there is college tuition for your children that you have to worry about still.
Or maybe you simply weren’t ready to have a single income as you approach your retirement age. The point is, a divorce can certainly hamper your plans for how to reach retirement — but a divorce doesn’t necessarily have to.
There are a couple of things you can do to minimize the financial pain of a divorce if you are older. The first is to know your finances before you get divorced. You should be actively involved in the financial picture of your marriage. What debts you have; how you pay for them; and where problem areas are and opportunities lie are crucial to minimizing the financial damage of a divorce.
The other aspect is to understand that there are things that can be done and utilized during a divorce to address financial inadequacies. Spousal support is just one way that financial aid can be utilized in a divorce.