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Alimony in Gray Divorces: Special Considerations for Older Couples

By Jun 15, 2023 Posted in Alimony

Statistics indicate that gray divorces have been on the rise since 1990. Researchers now believe that more than one-third of couples getting divorced are over the age of 50. Whatever the reasons for this trend, many couples do not realize how this could impact their alimony award until it is too late. If you are over the age of 50 and are considering getting a divorce, you need an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your options so that you can make an informed decision about moving forward. 

Age and Re-Entering the Workforce 

In past decades, one spouse, typically the husband, could expect to pay the wife alimony. In more modern times, both spouses are generally expected to work towards being economically independent of each other. Alimony awarded can be temporary and intended to assist the spouse with an economic need.  This can include assisting the spouse with an economic need to gain the skills or education they need to re-enter the workforce or re-establish their career. However, in long-term marriages, lifetime alimony may be awarded.

In divorces among older couples, however, working to support themselves may not be an option for either or both spouses due to age, physical health, and cognitive abilities. Their opportunities to go back to work may be quite limited. If you or your spouse are approaching retirement or have already retired, getting a divorce may require a significant change in your lifestyle in order to maintain your current standard of living. 

Income and Alimony

Older couples also have less flexibility when it comes to income. One or both spouses may have peaked their earning potential in their career. One or both spouses may be semi-retired or fully retired. In other words, they cannot count on future income to get through their divorce. Their post-divorce financial situation will likely remain the same for years. 

This also impacts whether alimony will be awarded and in what amount. With a reduced or fixed income, it can be difficult for either spouse to afford to pay alimony. This can be an especially difficult situation if there are health issues or other problems that prevent either spouse from returning to work on even a part-time basis. 

Spouses receiving social security benefits should be aware that their benefits will be considered for awarding alimony. This is also the case for other types of retirement income, including pensions. In short, the court will consider all sources of income, the length of your marriage, and each spouse’s needs versus ability to pay when determining whether and how much alimony to award. 

Over 50 and Thinking About Divorce? Contact Simpson Legal Group

At Simpson Legal Group, we have decades of experience in divorce and family law. Older couples can rely on us for candid advice and sound legal representation. To discuss your case and how we can help, call 712-256-9899 to schedule a consultation today.

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50 Northcrest Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503
Phone: 712.256.9899

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