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The Retiree’s Guide to Getting and Recovering from a Divorce Later in Life

Divorce rates among couples who are in the 60 and over age group have notably risen in recent years. This is in contrast with the falling divorce rates observed in younger age groups.

The phenomenon of older couples, who have been married for a long time, suddenly deciding to part ways is referred to as a gray or grey divorce.

Going through a divorce is challenging enough but going through it in your retirement comes with even more challenges. If you’re in the process of getting a gray divorce yourself, here’s your guide to seeing it through and recovering financially from it.

Making Changes

Kinga/Shutterstock: One or both spouses might have to start working again to make ends meet

A lot of grey divorcees would find themselves being left with the responsibility of managing their own finances for the first time. Thus, it’s important that you brush up on your financial knowledge and the laws of your state.

One of the major ways life would be different after divorce is that you’ll have less resources as your assets would be split up during the process.

Splitting the Assets

Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock: Hire an attorney to help you mediate the division of your conjugal assets

With both you and your spouse already being in or near retirement, one of the most important concerns you’d have to discuss is the splitting of your pension and other retirement benefits.

Find out whether there are forms you need to file especially if your spouse was a service member. See if you’re entitled to social security benefits as a divorced spouse.

If you’re in the process of paying down debts, you’d also have to settle matters with your spouse on whether you would be held responsible to pay them back.

Generating More Cash

With your initial household being split into two, this means that your individual budgets will decrease significantly. As a way to increase your cash flow in retirement, you may want to get a reverse mortgage to get access to the unencumbered value of your home.

Doing this would allow you to delay your Social Security benefits until the most optimal time and give you spending money for healthcare.

Goal Adjustment

Pressmaster/Shutterstock: You might need to downsize to a more affordable housing option

Divorce would likely disrupt and delay your money-related goals, so it would be helpful if you adjust accordingly to your new situation. Retaining a positive outlook of things despite your not-so-ideal circumstances would make it easier for you to write the next chapter of your life without your spouse.

It’s also advised that you consider consulting financial planners specializing in divorce to help you map out your next moves and get back on your feet.

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