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Dissecting Grey DivorceGrey divorce has been a hot topic in the news as of late, as the nation has seen a rise in the amount of those fitting into the age bracket of 55 and up divorcing at a higher rate in the last year. The topic has been dissected by everyone in the media, trying to come up with reasonable explanations as to why after so many years these people are starting to go their separate ways.

However, nobody has really broken down the ins and outs of just how and what happens to the other important items  in a marriage pushing 35 years. As time goes by a marriage just becomes more and more involved, along with the spouses’ finances, healthcare, and assets. So although the human interest side of grey divorce is fascinating, the legal side is even more intriguing.

Divorce and Social Security

One of the first things to think of are the assets for both spouses. We accumulate an abundance of things as we go through our lives, so naturally the older you are, the more you have. This applies to finances too; many of these in the grey divorce category are retired and live off IRA’s and retirement funds, some even off social security. The big questions is, what happens to that in a divorce?

The government has put in place a number of specific guidelines in terms of those receiving Social Security. When a divorce occurs, there are a few slight changes as to who and how much is received. You can receive benefits based on your ex’s earnings, even if he or she remarried, if you: are age 62 years or older, were married 10 years or more, are currently unmarried, and are not entitled to receive a higher benefit based on your own work. If both spouses worked, the lower earner may receive benefits based on the higher earner’s work. If you have never worked, you can collect benefits on your ex-spouse’s work, and your ex is still eligible to collect what he or she has earned over the years. The longer you wait to collect divorced spousal benefits, up to your full retirement age, the higher your benefits will be.

All in Order

This may be a lot to remember, but knowing these things in regards to your finances will help. Grey divorce can be tricky as there are typically more factors involved in the process of filing and obtaining a divorce than for someone of a lower age or who isn’t retired. It is important to take preventative and protective measures during a marriage so that if the day does come where a dissolution of marriage occurs, both parties are comfortably financially stable. No matter how old the spouses or the marriage may be, a post nuptial can resolve any anxieties you may have.

Another important way to feel confident in your ability to strike it out solo is to be prepared. Be an active participant in your family finances and you’ll establish the know-how and confidence to better succeed after the divorce is finalized. Make sure you fully understand your share of all assets and that all the details are clearly spelled out in your divorce settlement agreement.

As a society, we see marriages that last past 10 years as a done deal. But with marriages that have made it past 35 and 40 being dissolved, our sense of security has also been dissolved. Seeing grandma and grandpa call it quits eats away at our childhood memories, when really we shouldn’t put so much pressure on our baby boomers. Sometimes things just don’t work out, even later in life; so why be outraged that 60-somethings are making the brave choice to continue the life quest of happiness? After all, there is life after divorce.

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