Divorcing Near Retirement Age – The So-Called “Gray Divorce”

June 26, 2018

When you get divorced near retirement age, it can be especially devastating. Divorce is a major life change, and you certainly didn’t expect or plan for a divorce to occur. You’re likely worried about your finances. You might wonder what you need to think about when you divorce later in life. Here are our tips about a North Carolina divorce near retirement age:

You can still draw social security

After 10 years of marriage to the same person, you can draw on their social security after you divorce. It doesn’t hurt your spouse, either. They still collect the same amount that they can collect if you don’t claim social security based on their record. You can both draw social security from your former spouse’s earnings record.

If you remarry, you lose the ability to claim social security on a former spouse’s earnings record. You can choose from your record or your former spouse’s earnings history, and you can choose whichever one gives you the higher payment. Keeping social security in mind can ease your worries as you plan for your life after divorce.

Remember pensions and retirement accounts

When you’re divorcing later in life, remember to ask for an equitable division of any pension or retirement accounts. The working spouse often assumes that a retirement account or pension is their alone. That isn’t the case. Most assets acquired or earned during the marriage are subject to division as a marital asset.

The part of a pension that the working spouse earns during the marriage is subject to division even if the spouse is still working and hasn’t claimed it yet. You can work to determine the current value of the pension. There are a number of ways that you can ask the court to award each spouse an equitable share of a retirement account including splitting monthly payments or awarding the non-earning spouse other assets to compensate for their share of the pension. You can also address survivor benefits.

Ask for the alimony that you need

Alimony exists to make sure that neither party is left impoverished after the divorce. Alimony is written into North Carolina law in order to make sure that both parties have what they need in order to make ends meet. In divorces near retirement age, the courts want to ensure that both parties can cover their basic expenses considering your ability to earn an income and your needs. Your North Carolina divorce attorney can help you build your case and plan for a divorce near retirement age.