Senior Divorce: Special Considerations

"Happily ever after" is the story line we all want to live, but, increasingly, it just doesn't sum up married life. Unfortunately, older Americans are finding themselves among the divorced more than ever. In fact, five percent of the divorcees in America in 2010 were 65 and older and that statistic continues to rise yearly. If you are seeking a divorce and have concerns about the financial implications involved with pensions, Social Security, insurance etc., you want a firm with a proven track record of success on your side. You want the Michigan team of Michael A. Robbins.

Why Are Older Americans Getting Divorced?

Research indicates that the reasons for divorce among seniors are as vast as the seniors themselves. The reasons often mirror those of younger divorcees. Additionally, older Americans often cite "growing apart" as a key reason for divorce, stating that life's milestones drive partners in new directions. Add to that longer life expectancies, and many people realize they have a lot of time ahead in which to live in dissatisfying relationships, or to forge ahead in new directions.

What Does Divorce Involve for Older Americans?

When a marriage ends, the challenges can be exponentially more difficult based on the number of years involved. Divorce during one's senior years can be particularly complex. Here are some things you should know:

  • Michigan law states that spousal support is to be determined on a case-by-case basis. That being said, the longer the marriage, the more likely spousal support, or alimony, will be awarded to the partner whose career was least lucrative provided the other party is still working or has another source of income. If one partner has a limited work history, or never worked outside the home, the courts will recognize the need for financial support.

  • One partner may have earned retirement funds, but those funds are considered an asset like any other provided the account is not in pay status. Count on splitting those down the middle in most circumstances. It is possible to obtain a "Qualified Domestic Relation Order" to directly manage the payouts to divorcing parties.

  • If one party has earned significantly less money than the other during the course of a career, then Social Security benefits may be based on the working spouse's work record rather than their own.

  • Health insurance may be an issue for some divorcees. Companies employing over 20 individuals carry a COBRA option for ex-spouses offering coverage for a limited time period-generally up to 36 months. Otherwise, it is possible for the court to order one spouse to provide health insurance for the other provided Medicaid is not available.

  • Life insurance is another issue. Divorcing spouses may wish to change their beneficiaries; this means life insurance is an issue worthy of discussion with your attorney. However, older Americans may not qualify any longer for life insurance.

Divorce is complicated, even in the most amicable situations. If you are a senior contemplating divorce, the financial implications could be substantial. Contact the experienced attorneys at the office of Michael A. Robbins in Bloomfield Hills for caring, personalized representation.