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Florida Women's Law Group

Surviving A Grey Divorce

Author: FWLG
Date: Feb 11 2021

Divorce Over 50

As we go through life we plan for a lot of things.  We make plans for our children, our health, our retirement, and other life events.  What we never plan for is a divorce, especially a divorce after twenty, thirty or more years of marriage.  Divorce is difficult for everyone but even harder after a lifetime of being with someone.  You can get through it and you can be happy and fulfilled in the next chapter of your life.  Here we offer some advice to save you some unneeded stress and get you to the other side.

Use Your Head Not Your Heart

It is so easy to be consumed with emotions when divorcing, especially when you were together for decades.  You may be angry, bitter or sad but you cannot let those emotions cloud your judgement.  It is natural to want to get back at your ex or inflict some emotional pain on them through the divorce, but no one wins in divorce.  If you fight over little things or demand something that in the end you really do not want all you are doing is wasting time, energy and money.  You do not want to carry all that bitterness into your new life. 

Look at the big picture and make sure you account for not only right now but the next five, ten and twenty years.  You need to be logical and have a game plan to help plan for your future and unexpected circumstances.

Know Your Complete Financial Situation

One of the more complicated aspects of divorce in a longer marriage is separating finances and assets.  It is vital to know your financial portfolio when heading into divorce, so you are fully aware of your financial situation.  This includes all bank accounts, retirement plans, 401Ks, investments, property and other assets.  According to research from Bloomberg, a woman’s standard of living drops by 45% after a divorce.  Know how much it will cost to live each month and be sure you will be able to cover it all.

In determining the separation of finances, keep in mind that there are tax implications to cashing out of investments and retirement accounts.  Factor that in when looking at division of assets, a big tax hit will lower the value of that account.  You must also consider the cost of health insurance.  You may be covered under your husband’s plan through his employer but after the divorce this will no longer apply.  Health insurance on your own can be very expensive and Medicare does not apply until you are 65 or older.    

Think Twice About Keeping the House

One of the items to be divided is the family home.  You may want to keep it because it brings you comfort and you think it will be less disruptive to your children.  However, houses are expensive.  You must factor in the cost of upkeep, mortgage payments, property taxes and emergency repairs.  Consider these costs and if you will have the budget to maintain them post-divorce.  It may be hard to sell the house that holds so many memories, but it may make the most financial sense.

Financially Supporting Your Adult Children

If you were supporting your adult children when you were married, now that you are divorced this is no longer a good financial decision for you.  Women are living longer than ever and you need to be sure that you will be financially stable for the years ahead.  It is time for your adult children to stand on their own and support themselves.  You do not want to go into debt or exhaust what money you do have on your adult children. 

A divorce after a long-term marriage can turn your life upside down and the emotional and financial implications are much more complex than in other divorces.  It may be hard to think of your life without your husband or how you will make it on our own.  Give yourself more credit!  You are stronger than you think, you will figure things out and learn to be happy again.

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