While the divorce process is governed by law, each divorce will have unique aspects because each couple is unique. One aspect of a divorce that can set a couple apart and require special considerations can be the ages of the spouses and the number of years they have been married. There are aspects of gray divorce, a term used to describe divorces involving those older than 50, of which Pennsylvania couples should be aware.
One aspect is spousal support. Temporary support is not uncommon among younger couples. However, alimony for life, known as permanent alimony, is often normal for couples who have been married for an extended period of time. Retirement funds are also an issue for older couples, as there may be much more at stake than with younger couples. Retirement funds are likely to be split in half, which can drastically alter the retirement dreams of both spouses.
For many couples, the house is the most valuable asset. It may also be an asset to which both parties are emotionally attached. Keeping the house might seem like a win to one spouse, but the pros of keeping it should be weighed against the consequences. If one spouse gets the house, the other will likely receive valuable assets or accounts that make up for the loss of the home. Plus, houses are more than just an asset, as they can be a liability when one considers the cost of upkeep and tax obligations.
When a divorce occurs for older couples, nearly every aspect of their lives will change in one way or another. Having a realistic outlook and carefully assessing the potential changes can help Pennsylvania couples adjust more smoothly. Preparation and knowledge can help tremendously when older couples decide to divorce.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, "7 Things to Know About Divorcing During Your Senior Years", Maryalene Laponsie, April 24, 2015