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Senior Divorce Considerations

Marriages break up at a wide range of ages and stages of life. When marriages break up between individuals in their 20s and 30s, there may be contentious custody battles and other issues. Divorce between older couples, however, typically involves different sets of considerations.

One is alimony. In divorces between young people, it may be presumed that both can be self-supporting after the marriage ends. Correspondingly, alimony may not be awarded or if it is, be only for a short period such as a few years while one of the individuals goes to college to boost one's earning potential.

However, with older couples, one of the individuals divorcing may been out of the workforce for decades. Because of that, it may be presumed that it is unlikely for him or her to be able to successfully re-enter the workforce. Possibilities like getting a degree and starting a new career may not seem viable for someone in, for example, their 60s.

For that reason, alimony in divorces between older couples is often awarded on a permanent basis. The individual who worked outside the home during the marriage may find oneself legally obligated to work for the rest of one's life to pay alimony to the one who did not work outside the home.

Alimony may be reduced, however, if the person to whom it is paid gets the marital home in the divorce. That home, after all, has a value and that value may be compensated for by a reduction in the alimony obligation. This is a key consideration in divorce, since the comfort level of keeping the home needs to be balanced against how doing so can affect other financial considerations. By taking this into account, seniors getting divorced can have a realistic understanding of what their future after the marriage ends will look like.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "7 Things to Know About Divorcing During Your Senior Years," Maryalene LaPonsie, April. 24, 2015

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