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The Challenges of Grey Divorce


Dissolving the marriage of a couple, each of whom is over the age of 50 years old, which is more commonly known as a grey divorce, tends to be emotionally and financially traumatic for the parties involved, who may have spent decades as companions. Couples who have been married for many years are also more likely to have accumulated diverse or especially valuable assets, which can also make the property division process fraught with difficulty. These are only a few of the challenges faced by those going through a grey divorce, so if you and your spouse are over the age of 50 years old and are thinking about ending your marriage, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who can help you navigate the divorce process.

Retirement and Social Security Benefits  

There are a number of unique challenges faced by those going through a grey divorce, but one of the most complex involves determining how retirement benefits will be divided. Social Security benefits, in particular, pose specific difficulties. Social Security benefits are distributed through a federal program whose aim it is to provide financial assistance to retirees through the collection of payroll taxes. When a couple divorces after becoming eligible for Social Security benefits, their financial records must be examined in order to calculate how much each party should receive upon dissolution of the marriage.

Retirement benefits provided as part of a pension are handled a bit differently, as these types of assets are considered joint property, or marital assets, and so are subject to equitable division upon divorce. In the case of a pension, this means that when the funds are released, the money will be divided into equal amounts and distributed to both partners. This same rule applies for most retirement benefit funds, with the general rule of thumb being that both parties will receive a portion of the funds that were accumulated over the period of time that a couple was actually married.

Health and Life Insurance  

Health insurance poses another significant problem for elderly couples who decide to divorce if only one of the parties is employed, as coverage for the partner who is not employed will be terminated when the parties go their separate ways. Not having health insurance is always dangerous, but is especially so for older couples who may already be struggling with poor health and increased healthcare care costs.

Couples can be similarly affected when it comes to life insurance policies, as the account holder could choose to remove his or her partner as a beneficiary, either ahead of the divorce action or after the divorce has already been finalized. In these cases, there is little that the former beneficiary can do in regards to their claim.

Dividing Marital Assets  

Only marital assets are divisible upon divorce. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to determine which assets qualify as marital during grey divorces, simply because the length of the marriage can make it difficult to identify when the assets were acquired, who acquired them, and how much they are worth.

Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer  

If you are considering divorce and need the advice of an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney, please don’t hesitate to contact Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today for an initial consultation.




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