We are continuing our discussion from our last post about the increasing number of divorces among Americans 50-years-old and older. A later-in-life divorce poses certain challenges, especially with retirement planning. And, unfortunately, the trend away from spousal maintenance in Illinois and elsewhere can mean a dramatic change in circumstances for women who spent part or all of their marriages at home.
Researchers are not entirely sure why Baby Boomers are divorcing more often, but they have their theories. For one, they say, people are living longer. It is not uncommon for a couple to work hard toward retirement only to realize that they are no longer compatible, that the thought of spending every day together for the next 25 years is not a happy one.
Longer life spans are also resulting in what one financial planner terms late-stage midlife crises. At 40, the question was more, “What do I have to show for the last 20 years?” At 60, the question changes to, “Why should I settle for this?” Boomers have more complicated measures for success, including success in a marriage, and they have time to work toward that ideal.
Still, the financial implications are fairly serious with a late-stage midlife divorce. Retirement funds are split, and fixed incomes mean lower future earnings for both. The chances of a stay-at-home spouse going out and finding meaningful work for a decent wage are less than favorable. The impact on women, who will likely outlive their ex-husbands, is particularly troubling. How many will end up in sub-par nursing homes instead of the comfortable assisted living facilities they had planned to live in with their husbands?
This is just one of the reasons it is important that couples close to retirement consult with experienced family law attorneys if they are considering a divorce or a legal separation. Even older men and women need help planning for the long term.
Source: USA Today, “Boomer divorce: A costly retirement roadblock,” Rodney Brooks, Feb. 25, 2013
Our firm handles divorces and other family law matters for couples of all ages. Please visit our website for more information about Libertyville, Illinois, practice.