Although the divorce rate in the United States is slowly declining, there is one demographic that has seen a significant increase in divorces in recent decades: Americans over age 50. In fact, data shows that one in four adults currently going through a divorce is aged 50 or above. These so-called “gray divorces” can be substantially more complex than divorces involving younger individuals. When older adults get divorced, there are special concerns that they must consider.
Spousal Maintenance Is Often Ordered After a Long Marriage
Many divorce cases do not involve any type of alimony or spousal maintenance. Generally, alimony is only granted when a divorce causes one of the spouses to be at a significant financial disadvantage. For example, a stay-at-home mother who sacrificed a career to care for her children will likely have a much lower earning capacity than her husband who remained in the workforce during the marriage. Illinois courts make spousal maintenance decisions based on factors such as:
The standard of living established during the marriage
Each spouse’s age, health, and financial circumstances
The amount of time the spouse receiving support would need to become self-sufficient
The duration of the marriage
If there is a significant difference in the income or financial circumstances of the spouses, and the spouses were married a long time, it is likely that spousal maintenance will be awarded. Typically, spousal maintenance is intended to be rehabilitative and therefore temporary. However, long-term alimony is sometimes awarded when spouses divorce after a long marriage. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, after 20 years of marriage or more, spousal maintenance may be awarded for a time period equal to the duration of the marriage or indefinitely, though it does terminate if the recipient spouse remarries or passes away.
Retirement Funds Will Be Divided Equitably
In Illinois, marital property is divided according to the principle of equitable distribution. The marital estate generally includes any property or assets accumulated by either spouse during the marriage. Separate, non-marital property includes funds and property that each of the spouses already owned before getting married. IRAs, pensions, and 401(k)s are treated the same as other assets during the property division process. Retirement funds that were accumulated during the marriage are generally considered marital property eligible for division. A court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will specifically lay out how retirement accounts will be divided between spouses after divorce, and a QDRO will allow for the transfer of assets between divorcing spouses without being subject to excessive taxes or penalties for the early withdrawal of funds.
Contact a DuPage County Gray Divorce Lawyer
Gray divorce can be especially difficult to manage, both personally and financially. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, our skilled Wheaton, IL divorce attorneys have decades of combined legal experience assisting clients with a wide variety of family law matters, and we can help you protect your interests in your divorce after age 50. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your questions and concerns by calling our office today at 630-871-1002.