The grey divorce rate for Americans has been on the rise in recent decades. As couples get older, there may be unique concerns if they decide to part ways. In addition to the usual financial and property division issues, health problems, promises to adult children and/or stepchildren, and retirement income are all of special significance.
Grey Divorce Rates for Americans
Grey divorce rates. While 10% of couples over age 50 divorced in 1990, 25% were divorcing in 2010. For couples in second and third marriages, the rates are even higher. Experts say there are two key reasons for this increase in gray divorce:
- Changing attitudes about gender roles, dating, and divorce;
- Empty nesting and other life changes that jolt couples into looking at their satisfaction in the relationship.
When divorce does become the road of choice for greying couples, what are the specific issues that must be considered?
Grey Divorce – When Competency is an Issue
If one party is found to be incompetent, several things might be necessary:
- The medical findings must be verified by a doctor by examining medical records;
- A guardian ad litem (GAL) may be appointed to represent the interests of the individual;
- Third parties including adult children and financial experts may be consulted;
- Issues regarding long-term care may need to be addressed;
- Estate planning and promises made to family members (such as responsibilities for weddings and/or college) must be tackled;
- The possibility of one spouse dying before the divorce is completed may need to be considered.
Long-Term Care Requirements in a Grey Divorce
In some cases, one or both partners may require long-term care to assist with physical and/or mental deficiencies. This can be costly:
- On average out-of-home care runs nearly $9,000 annually;
- When it comes to nursing home care, a semi-private room averages nearly $75,000 per year, while a private room averages well over $80,000 annually;
- Home health care averages over $20 per hour;
- Living in an assisted living facility can cost roughly $40,000 annually.
Couples should also take a look at estate planning documents that may have been drafted in previous years. If one spouse dies during the course of the divorce, the other will inherit the entire estate. Another concern centers around power of attorney. Most divorcing couples would not want their former spouse making end-of-life decisions on their behalf. Beneficiary designations may also be worth taking another look, especially with regard to children and/or stepchildren.
Because California is a community property state, retirement income may have to be equally divided. Decisions as to when and how to disperse these funds will have to be made. This includes looking at social security income.
One party may no longer be eligible for the other’s health insurance following a divorce. How will this be addressed in the divorce settlement? Continue reading →