Silver Divorce is On the Rise
Divorce later in life, or “silver divorce” as it’s often called in the media, is on the rise in America. Divorce over 50 affects many couples, many of which you know. We’ve all heard about Tipper and Al Gore, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins, and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.
People seeking divorces after very long marriages face an entirely different set of issues and emotions than their younger counterparts. Often there are adult children to consider, or children that are just leaving for college, so parenting plans are not always at issue. Also, a long marriage has taken on a life of its own, and even though the marriage has died, the parties almost always feel a pang of bittersweet pain at the final recognition of its demise. Long-married individuals typically experience a deep sense of remorse for not ending the marriage sooner. They grieve, in a very unique way, the loss of years and possibilities they feel have passed them by.
Fortunately, silver divorcees are far less likely to engage in hotly contested litigation, throwing out daggers and making recriminations. These divorces are often a little bit ceremonial in that there can be more about sadness than anger as the process evolves. But after the divorce is complete, silver divorcees often feel a sense of exhilaration about what’s next.
Interestingly, “silver” divorcing men these days often have financial freedoms over their lives in a way that earlier generations did not. So, leaving is often less financially threatening for them, especially if they have had successful careers, and have their own retirement accounts and Social Security.
Regardless of the reason for the divorce, someone in this position is well advised to consider their next steps very carefully. Silver divorces require a divorce attorney who has a firm grasp of later-years financial strategy and a willingness to help the client find his way into a sound financial future.
In the case of a silver divorce it’s imperative that one finds a lawyer or law firm that can also advise on the estate planning aspects of the divorce process. There are often tax consequences of property distribution from an estate planning perspective that must be considered when going through a silver divorce. It’s a good idea to coordinate gifts to adult children and grandchildren at that time as well. Anyone considering a silver divorce needs a lawyer who can help with changing powers of attorney and health care directives as well as insurance and retirement fund beneficiaries.
If you are considering a silver divorce, we recommend that you hire a good attorney for several consultations to discuss your options before making any permanent decisions about filing for divorce. It’s important to understand what the divorce will mean for you–financially and emotionally–and what support you will need to bring about your own, very personal, post-divorce vision for yourself.
DuBois Cary owner and senior partner Amanda DuBois has a special interest in, and years of experience with, helping individuals through “silver divorces,” and her partner, Monica Cary, handles the estate planning needs of people going through divorce.
If you have further questions concerning divorce over 50, or want to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our Seattle or Bellevue divorce attorneys, please contact us today. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue and can meet with you in one or both of those locations as needed. We look forward to meeting you and helping you achieve the “silver divorce” solutions you seek.