The rate of divorce among older adults over age 50 has doubled in the past 20 years. Among those who are in remarriages the divorce rate is even higher — 2½ times that of those in a first marriage.
The implications for seniors aren’t the same as they are for younger generations — we have a different set of issues that come with divorce. If you’re considering ending a marriage, here are some things to think about:
Adult children — What role will they need to take? Caregiver or financial supporter as one of you ages? And that’s if you have adult children nearby.
Your home — Who gets to keep it? The one who ends up with the house will likely end up with less of something else in the settlement.
Caring for parents — If you’re a caregiver (financially, physically or both) for your own parents, you’ll likely end up doing this on your own. What will that do to your own health? Can you afford it?
Alimony — If you’re still working, you’ll likely pay alimony to an unemployed spouse, and not for just a short period of time. It will likely be until the end of his or her life.
Retirement — Your assets will likely be halved, and as a senior, your ability to increase income will be limited. Your tax bracket will change to single, which is a higher tax rate.
Get financial and legal counseling before dropping the D-word on your spouse. Get all your information first so that assets don’t disappear. Know whether there are any 401(k) plans and if there have been any loans taken out on them. Be sure to understand your rights. And if you remarry, get a pre-nup without fail.