Attentive Legal Problem-Solving For Your Alaska Family

Challenges of divorcing after 50

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | DIVORCE - Divorce |

When couples over 50 end their marriage, it is often called gray divorce. While divorce rates have dipped overall, this one is on the rise. Divorcing later in life, though, has unique challenges, both emotionally and legally.

In general, divorce can bring a myriad of emotions to the forefront. For long-term marriages, the emotional upheaval usually involves feelings of loss, grief and a sense of lost identity. Social circles built over decades may need re-negotiation, and feelings of isolation can be a concern. And while gray divorce is becoming increasingly common, there may still be a social stigma attached to it.

Legal intricacies can add stress

Older couples who decide to part ways also have financial and legal concerns to consider, including, but not limited to:

  • Assets and debts distribution: As an equitable distribution state, Alaska courts typically divide marital property fairly but not necessarily equally.
  • Retirement plans: These tend to be major asset later in life, and you can split qualified retirement plans, like IRAs and 401(k)s through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
  • Social Security benefits: You may be eligible for spousal benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings if married for at least 10 years.
  • Spousal support (alimony): Lower-earning spouses may be more eligible for spousal support to maintain their long-established living standards after the divorce.
  • Estate planning: Divorce often requires revising estate plans, including wills and power of attorney documents.

This is not an exhaustive list. More may be required to achieve a fair and equitable settlement.

Golden years can still be truly golden

Facing divorce at 50 can be daunting, so do not hesitate to seek help. For managing the emotional rollercoaster of a divorce, a mental health professional may be able to provide guidance. Connecting with others going through a similar experience can be invaluable, too. With the right resources and a positive outlook, your divorce can be the bridge to a fulfilling new chapter.