Since 2010, conducted surveys suggest that roughly 1 in 4 divorces are between couples over 50. What does this mean for women? Well, divorce at this age gets a little more complex. You likely have a lot more assets to divide than younger couples, not to mention pension and retirement accounts. Women, in particular, need to stay sharp when proceeding with divorce after 50. While it’s true that over the past decade women have worked hard to close the pay gap (earning 90% as much as their spouses in the same field), older women still range in the 77-80 percent range. This generally translates to fewer savings. Below are some things to know about getting a divorce after 50.
Things to Know about Divorce after 50
- When dividing up retirement assets, you might be able to receive your portion of the 401K or pension plan tax-free. You’ll need to have a QDRO (court-ordered qualified domestic relations order). This basically tells the administrator how much the non-working spouse will receive, which they can then put into a tax-sheltered account.
- The house is probably the biggest asset you and your future ex-spouse share. It’s important to take your time coming up with the right strategy on how to divide this asset up. Most divorce lawyers will give the advice of selling the home and dividing up the equity either before or after the divorce. Both have their own benefits and downsides.
- Social security is another concern for women that divorce after 50. This one is actually pretty simple. As long as you were married at least 10 years you can receive spousal benefits. This usually entitles you to half of your spouse’s benefit. You should also know that having your ex-spouse collect your benefit doesn’t affect your social security payments either. The only stipulation to this would be if you were to remarry someone that made less than your ex.
Divorce after 50 can be challenging due to the overwhelming amount of assets you might have to go through. It’s best not to make any quick decisions about your home or retirement plans before speaking with your lawyer.