If you've decided to divorce after 30 years of marriage, you're probably feeling alone. Like you're the only couple in the world facing a "gray divorce."
But these days, retirement and divorce later in life is much more common.
Often times, couples who were focused throughout the marriage on their careers and raising children find that once the kids have grown, they discover they’ve grown apart, too.
And while becoming single again after such a lengthy marriage can be a frightening time filled with uncertainty, more and more couples in this stage of life are choosing not to spend their golden years in an unhappy marriage.
But no matter the reasons for seeking a divorce, it’s important to understand that mature divorces are markedly different than divorces for younger couples.Divorce after 30 years of marriage (or more) requires a lot of untangling of lives, assets, debt, and emotions.
Retirement and Divorce Considerations
If you're facing divorce later in life, you likely have different concerns and priorities.
Divorce at 50 and older is a complex situation because of the implications of retirement and divorce.
In most long-term marriages, one spouse tends to handle the finances. It’s just the natural way of doing things for most couples.
So what happens when in your 30 year marriage, divorce has changed this? What if you were the one who was in the dark about money all of those years and now you have no idea how you’re going to make it?Many couples in a long-term or 30 year marriage who divorce don't have a lot of time to recover financially.
While you may no longer have to worry about things like child support or visitation schedules, you instead have to think about things like alimony and how you will plan for retirement in a much shorter time frame.
Or how you will finish paying for your children's college tuition and still have money left to establish separate households.
Maybe you raised the kids while your spouse worked outside the home.
You never thought you’d be divorced at this age and never worried about planning for your own retirement. You were simply going to share in what your spouse put away.
But now that you're facing divorce after 50, how will you support yourself now and in the future?
What will you do about social security?
Can you collect on your spouses’ earnings since yours would be so minimal if they used your income? Like everything our government does, the answer is – maybe you qualify, maybe you don’t.
What about insurance coverage? Or dividing pensions?
You need to know how much of your spouses’ pension you’ll receive and you need help figuring out if you can afford to live.
So what can you do to fairly resolve all of the complex financial matters pertaining to your retirement and divorce later in life?You can divorce without a lawyer.
The natural thought process in a silver divorce is as follows: 30 year marriage. Divorce. Money. Living arrangements.
In other words, once you’ve figured out finances, you'll then need to determine where you're going to live.
You’ve shared a home for what seems like forever. Does selling the marital home make sense? How can you be expected to move? And if you must, where will you go?
If you stay in the house, will there be enough money for the other spouse to establish their own separate household?Working with an expert divorce mediator who understands both the legal and financial ramifications of your situation can go a long way towards making a decision that's right for you.
New Family Dynamics
Finally, it’s important to expect the dynamics of your family to change when you divorce after 30 years of marriage.
Divorce usually means the matriarch and patriarch of the family will be living separately after many years of sharing a home, which means that holidays and get-togethers will most likely change.
Parents may move in with their children. Children or even grandchildren may move in with their newly divorced relatives.
There’s no magical formula, and what works for one family may not make sense for another.
Regardless of how everything plays out when the dust settles, there’s a good chance that the dynamics of your family will have a new look.
Another important thing to think about when getting divorced later in life is who will care for you as you age.
You may be able to take care of yourself just fine right now, but what about in 10, 15 or 20 years?
Will you remarry? Will your children step up?
Or, will you have to set aside finances to pay for caregiving expenses when the time comes?Mediation helps you plan ahead so you’re prepared for the future.
Don’t Let Divorce After 30 Years of Marriage Dash Your Dreams
Divorce changes things – financially, emotionally and in just about every other area of your life.
But while divorce is the end of one part of your life, it can be the start of a whole new beginning.To end up with a fair settlement that has you both living comfortably for years to come, make sure that you work with a mediator with expertise in divorce finances.