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Special Considerations for Late Life Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneys, late life divorceCouples deciding to divorce later in life will deal different issues than those faced by younger couples. Often, a couple's children are adults or are in college. Therefore, the couple will not need to focus on developing parenting plans or making child custody decisions.

Additionally, dissolving the marriage may feel less threatening for a couple if they have both had successful careers and have established retirement accounts. This does not mean dissolving a marriage after 20 or 30 years is simple, but rather that divorce negotiations may center on issues related to retirement such as dividing Social Security payments or cashing out retirement accounts.

Dividing Social Security Payments

Most people can start collecting Social Security when they turn 62. Social Security payouts can become an important point to discuss in a divorce negotiation. This is true when both spouses are close to retirement and one spouse worked and accumulated Social Security. In this scenario, it is possible the financially supported spouse could be entitled to a division of those benefits in a divorce. It is also possible that both spouses are eligible for Social Security payments and the couple will only need to agree on how to split the Social Security payments. If a couple is divorcing later in life and there are young children, they may want to consider using the supporting spouse’s Social Security payments when calculating child support.

Dividing Retirement Accounts

The issue of dividing assets may center upon the division of retirement accounts. A divorcing couple will need to consider whether there will be alimony. If both spouses are close to retirement, then the couple will need to consider how the supporting spouse will pay alimony on a fixed income. The spouses will want to consider techniques for decreasing alimony payments or arrive at a divorce settlement that will not disturb their income after retirement.

Negotiate with Retirement in Mind

In cases where alimony has been awarded, it may be possible to modify alimony payments when the supporting spouse nears retirement. Illinois law allows the court to modify alimony if there is a substantial change in circumstances. When determining whether to modify alimony payments, a court may consider factors such as:

  • The spouses’ age;
  • The spouses’ health;
  • Timing of the retirement,;
  • Ability to pay alimony; and
  • The supported spouse's ability to self-support.

The issue of retirement, and its effect on alimony, should be discussed in divorce negotiations and clearly outlined in a divorce settlement. This will ensure that there are no surprises for either spouse once the supporting spouse retires.

Contact an Attorney

If you are divorcing later in life and are concerned about the impact your retirement and retirement assets may have on your divorce settlement, contact the DuPage County divorce attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC. Our legal professionals will help you understand the special issues that need to be considered in your divorce and assist you as you navigate the divorce process.


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