At Zitomer Law, one of the things we firmly believe in is ” divorce with dignity,” and we extend that dignity to anyone under any circumstance that comes to us. This also includes different age groups, because divorce is not something that only happens to young couples that are still raising their families. Divorce can occur to anyone at any age, and that includes older couples, or even people that are already retired.

When divorce occurs at a later stage of life, it can be a very different process in terms of the considerations that will be important to you. What are some of the differences that can occur with a divorce later in life?

The Causes Don’t Change

One thing that is likely to remain the same is the reasons for a divorce. Whether it is infidelity, growing apart, or financial pressures, many of the same factors that can affect a younger marriage can still play a significant role in an older, more established relationship. In some cases, the effects may be even more pronounced because there have been many years of stability that are now wildly disrupted.

Whatever the case, just because a couple has been together for many years, there is no guarantee that things are destined to have been ” sorted out” for all time. A person’s own feelings may change simply because so much time has passed. Or new considerations enter into the relationship precisely because of thinking about aging. Whatever the case, divorce can-and does-happen for legitimate reasons much later in life.

The New Considerations

One of the biggest differences when it comes to divorce later in life is the change in priorities. For example, if the children have already grown up and started families of their own, the worries about emotional trauma affecting the kids is not a factor.

On the other hand, the division of assets can be a very different experience at this point, which is why it’s wise to get an experienced divorce lawyer to oversee the proceedings and ensure that everything is properly accounted for.

For example, social security retirement benefits, while not actually divisible during divorce proceedings, are something you may be very concerned about. However, if you’ve been married for over 10 years, and your spouse is over the age of 62, it’s actually possible to still enjoy the full benefits of a spouse’s social security benefits without impacting the amount the spouse receives.

Retirement funds however, will definitely require a more careful eye. In this case, you will have been planning a retirement together for many years. There can be many factors at play here from investment funds put aside for retirement to IRAs that must now be properly evaluated and considered.

The home itself may also be an important factor, especially if there is no longer a desire to live together. Home situations vary wildly from one couple to the next. Some couples may live in a home that is completely paid off, while others may be holding a ” reverse mortgage” on the home, which complicates sale and ownership issues.

Whatever your case is, if you are divorcing later in life, do it safely and comprehensively. Get a divorce attorney to ensure that everything is done equitably and fairly.