As we've discussed here before, divorce rates have risen significantly in recent decades for those in their 50s and older. Financial security after divorce should be a priority for people who are nearing their retirement years when they divorce. This is particularly true for women who have not been in the full-time workforce for a long time and those who left the responsibility of the family finances to their husbands.
Even if you're only contemplating divorce at this point (or believe that your spouse is), it's important to seek experienced legal and financial guidance. Family law attorneys and financial advisors (particularly those who specialize in divorce) can help you determine exactly what kind of assets you have and are entitled to under the law. They can also help you prioritize what assets are most worth seeking if you and your spouse end the marriage and divide your property.
Having a place to live is a big concern for many divorcing spouses. If you've been in your home for many years and raised your family there, it may have many memories you don't want to give up. However, fighting for the house is often not a wise financial strategy. Even if the mortgage is paid off, there are taxes, homeowner's association dues, maintenance costs and utilities to consider. Those can add up to a hefty price tag for a person living alone.
Whether you have your own 401(k) or other retirement plan or not, find out how much of your spouse's workplace retirement plan you're entitled to. A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) lets divorcing couples divide the money they've contributed to retirement plans.
If you or your spouse is nearing Social Security eligibility age, find out if and when you can collect spousal benefits. Collecting these benefits based on your spouse's work record costs him or her nothing and can provide a nice addition to your monthly income. Note that you and your spouse must have been married for at least a decade to collect these benefits.
These are just a few things to consider if you're going to be a newly-single person after many years of marriage. Your Florida family law attorney can provide you with more information specific to your individual circumstances.
Source: CBS News, "Divorce tips for financial security," Jillian Harding, Nov. 13, 2017