Local. Experienced. Trial-Tested.

Cullman County’s Local Legal Team

What should older adults keep in mind about divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2022 | Estate Planning, Family Law

When older Alabama adults get a divorce, they often have a different set of concerns from younger couples. While younger people may be worried about the effects on their children, older adults may have accumulated more assets. Their adult children and their grandchildren may be affected by the divorce as well.

Children and grandchildren

As grandparents, the couple might have been paying for some of their grandchildren’s activities. They may need to discuss how to handle this after the divorce. If their children are unmarried, they may want to make an agreement on paying for weddings.

Revising financial arrangements

Older adults may have an estate plan in which they have named one another on powers of attorney for health care and finances that they need to revise along with beneficiary designations, wills and other documents. However, there are also situations in which older adults decide to remain somewhat financially entwined. For example, an older couple might decide to continue running a business together or to keep a vacation home even if they do not visit it at the same time.

Retirement

On the other hand, the process of dividing assets can be particularly complex for older adults and, in the case of the family home, emotional. This division may happen through negotiations rather than in a divorce court. People should fully understand how retirement accounts and pensions will be divided and the tax implications for various arrangements. Lower-earning spouses may be able to draw on a higher-earning spouse’s Social Security record. Remarriage could also affect these benefits in some situations.

An additional risk for older adults is that they may not have the income-earning years ahead of them to make up for financial losses in the divorce that they would have if they were younger. This should also be taken into account when property is divided.