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Posted on in Over 50

Unique Concerns for Divorcees Over 50Going through a divorce is fundamentally the same process for everyone, regardless of their age. You need to divide the life you shared, including the assets you accumulated and the responsibilities you hold. Getting divorced when you are age 50 or older means you will approach some of these issues differently than if you were a younger couple. Your children are likely either adults or getting close to adulthood, which makes child-related issues less of a focus. However, there are other issues that can be more complicated during a gray divorce:

  1. Health Insurance: Having good health insurance coverage becomes more vital as you get older and your healthcare expenditures likely increase. Divorce may disrupt your insurance if you are on your spouse’s plan. You need to find your own health insurance source until you are old enough to start receiving Medicare. If you are not eligible for Medicare based on your own work history, you can receive Medicare under your former spouse’s plan as long as you were married for at least 10 years and you have not remarried.
  2. Retirement: Dividing retirement assets is an issue in all divorces, but divorcees age 50 and older are dealing with plans that are more mature and closer to being used. If your retirement assets are far greater than your spouse’s assets, you will likely need to share some of its value with your spouse because they are at the age where it may be too late for them to build up their retirement assets on their own. You and your spouse can negotiate whether you will share your retirement assets in one lump sum or through continued payments.
  3. Estate Plan: People 50 and older are more likely to have created an estate plan for how to divide their assets upon their death and who should have the power to make decisions on their behalf if they are incapacitated. You can update these documents following your divorce to remove your spouse as the primary beneficiary. However, you might not completely cut your spouse out of your estate plan. For instance, you may agree to give your spouse assets upon your death as a replacement for spousal maintenance.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

If you have chosen to divorce after decades of marriage, you need to work with someone who is experienced in handling cases such as yours. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group can handle all of the complicated life issues that come with gray divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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Four Steps for Dividing Retirement Assets in DivorceRetirement assets grow in importance as marital property the longer you are married. If you divorce after several years of marriage, they could be one of the most valuable properties you own. As with all marital properties, you must include your retirement benefits as part of your division of property, and figuring out how to do so will be one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. In general, there are four steps to determining how you will divide your retirement benefits as part of your divorce agreement:

  1. Valuing Your Benefits: To start, you need to know the current value of your retirement benefits. Retirement accounts are classified as defined contribution plans and defined benefit plans. It is easier to determine the value of a defined contribution plan because it is an individual account that you are paying into. With a defined benefit plan, your retirement benefits are part of a group account that will pay you based on a formula, and estimating its value is based on your life expectancy and the account's interest rates.
  2. Identifying the Marital Portion: Once you know the value of your retirement benefits, you must determine how much of it counts as marital property. The amount that your retirement benefits increased in value during your marriage is the amount that is marital property. Increases can come from your contributions to the plan, interest accrued on your holdings, and investments made with the money. The cut-off date determines when you stop counting increases in value towards your marital property. In Illinois, the date that a couple separates is usually the cut-off date.
  3. Dividing the Benefits: Because Illinois is an equitable division state, you do not have to divide your marital retirement benefits evenly between each other. When a divorce court determines whether the division of retirement benefits is equitable, they will consider the duration of the marriage and the economic resources of each spouse. You may be able to keep all of your retirement benefits in exchange for other marital properties, such as your home.
  4. Transferring Benefits: With many retirement plans, people are entitled to benefits based on being an employee or member of an organization. In order to receive benefits that you would not otherwise be entitled to, you will need a court order to transfer a portion of these benefits. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is for private retirement benefits, such as a business’ retirement plan. A Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order is for retirement benefits provided by the Illinois state government. A Military Retired Benefit Division Order is for anyone who receives retirement pay because of their military service.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Dividing retirement benefits as part of your divorce may take the combined efforts of your divorce lawyer and a financial professional, such as an actuary. A St. Charles, Illinois, divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group will determine how to include your retirement benefits as part of your divorce while still protecting them. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.

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