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Will Gray Divorce Ruin My Retirement?

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Wheaton Gray Divorce LawyerOnce people reach their sixties, they know that their working years are almost over. If they have worked and put away money every month to plan for their retirement, it can feel like they are about to be rewarded for their many years of hard work. However, everyone has different retirement plans: some people work for large companies and are offered packages that include a matching program (the company deposits the same amount into a fund as the employee every month) and stock options, while other people might only have a 401K.

In some cases, one spouse is given a generous retirement package by their employee and the other spouse is not, and the couple might decide to depend on that one plan for their shared future. This arrangement works for many couples, but what happens if a couple gets a divorce? If you find yourself wondering whether you are better off staying in an unhappy marriage to ensure a comfortable retirement, a DuPage County divorce attorney can have an honest conversation and help get you the answers you need to make an informed decision.

How Rare Is Gray Divorce?

The short answer is not at all. According to a report from 2017, divorce among Americans who are at least 50 years old has nearly doubled since the 1990s. There are several likely reasons for this.


Can I Get Divorced if My Spouse Has Dementia?

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Wheaton Divorce LawyerIllnesses that cause memory loss and cognitive decline, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and others, affect many Americans. While it is more common to occur after the age of 70, younger people can be afflicted as well. These diseases take a heavy toll on everyone involved, whether you have the disease yourself or a loved one does. The ways they affect someone cognitively can make it seem like your spouse is not the person you fell in love with and married. 

Gray divorce, or divorce when the spouses are 50 years old or older, can have its own set of complications because the couple is typically separating after a long marriage and may have amassed more assets - or debts - than a younger couple. When one of the spouses has dementia, it can make it even more difficult to navigate. If your spouse has dementia and you are considering divorce, an experienced DuPage County, IL divorce attorney can answer your questions with sensitivity and protect your rights compassionately. 

The Complications of Divorcing Someone with Dementia

Divorce is commonly considered a difficult process to go through. This is felt even more so when divorcing someone who has dementia or other cognitive diseases. There are several reasons why, including:


Kane County gray divorce lawyerCommonly known as “gray divorce,” when a couple in their fifties or older goes through a divorce, many issues come up that are unique to their specific situation. These couples are generally married for longer than younger couples and are either nearing or already into their retirement years. The financial implications of a gray divorce can be more complicated and very different from those of a divorce for a younger couple. Suppose you are in your fifties or older and considering divorce but do not know where to begin. In that case, an experienced DuPage County, IL divorce lawyer can help clear up some of the confusion and explain how you can help protect your financial future.

Common Aspects of Gray Divorce

Gray divorce happens when a married couple with spouses who are 50 years old or older decides to get a divorce. It differs from divorce for younger couples for several reasons:

  • Older couples tend to have had a longer marriage than younger couples. This means they have generally amassed more marital assets and property (including cars, apartments, art, and jewelry) than younger couples.
  • Older couples are nearing their retirement years or are already retired. Many people throughout the country have their pension and insurance provided by their spouse’s employer. Once the marriage is ended, questions arise about the validity of an employer providing for an ex-spouse’s insurance.
  • Older couples typically have raised families. However, their children tend to be adults, so questions of parental rights and responsibilities and child support payments are generally irrelevant in these cases.

While the above are common aspects that you typically see in a gray divorce, another one is the fact that poor planning can lead to bad financial decisions. Once an older couple is ready to get divorced, they may feel impatient to finalize it to put the marriage behind them. However, this can lead people to rush into settlements they would not have considered had they taken the time to review everything carefully.


Naperville Divorce LawyerOtherwise known as “gray divorce,” divorce among couples who are 50 years of age or older has become increasingly common. The divorce rate among Americans in this age range has more than doubled over the last three decades. This is being attributed to several factors, including a longer life expectancy. The thought of getting divorced can be quite stressful if you’ve been married longer than you were ever single in your adult life. If you are 50 years of age or older and are considering divorce but overwhelmed by what it involves, a DuPage County, IL Gray Divorce attorney can answer your questions and help sort through the confusion and anxiety.

How Does Gray Divorce Differ from Other Divorces?

Longer life expectancy is a major reason why more and more older couples are getting divorced. In the past, unhappy couples may have stayed together for the sake of their children, and with a shorter life expectancy, once their children were grown and had moved out, it might have seemed like too drastic a measure for a limited time.

Now that people are living longer, it is fair to expect to live for many years after their children become adults. If they are not happily married, the idea of staying together at that point is not appealing. More and more people are choosing to stop settling for an unhappy relationship.


Unexpected Ways Gray Divorce Can Be Easier for You

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is never easy. Even if both people agree that this step makes the most sense for them, it is not a decision that is reached lightly. This is certainly the case for people over the age of 50 as well. In addition to splitting assets and debts, the couple will need to reconsider their retirement plans.

Fortunately, there are several surprising reasons why gray divorce could be easier than divorce at a younger age. If you are 50 years old or older and you think divorce might be the logical step for you, a Wheaton, IL divorce attorney could help make sense of this confusing time.

Why Is Gray Divorce Considered Complex?

Divorce at any age involves an agreement for asset distribution. The couple needs to split up their assets and debts in an equitable way. However, if you are 50 years old or older when you begin divorce proceedings, more factors might be considered:


3 Reasons Gray Divorce Can be Complex

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce always has the potential to be complicated. With divorce for people 50 years or older, this certainly holds true. By the time you have reached your fifties, your life has probably gone through many changes since you first got married. These changes can make it harder to split, financially, physically, and even emotionally. 

If you have been considering a divorce later in life, you might be feeling an added stress that you cannot quite understand. Below is a short list of reasons why this may be. If you are 50 years or older and you are thinking about getting a divorce, a Wheaton divorce attorney can offer you the advice you need to help you make informed decisions.

Emotional Complexities of Separating After So Many Years

When you are in your fifties, chances are that you have built a family together with your spouse. You could have adult children, and you might even have grandchildren. With a larger family come more birthday parties, graduations, weddings, and other family events for you both to attend. Maybe you traveled together, or have a favorite restaurant, and having memories and mementos from these experiences can make it hard for you to consider making this move, even if it is the right move for you.


Kane County Spousal Support LawyerDivorcing later in life brings unique financial challenges. Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, can provide important income for older divorced individuals in Illinois. However, securing fair alimony requires understanding your rights and navigating the complex factors considered under state laws.

Illinois Courts Favor Permanent Alimony

When an older couple divorces in Illinois after a long-term marriage, judges will typically order permanent spousal maintenance that continues until the receiving spouse dies or remarries. The goal is to provide financial support similar to the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.

Illinois judges do not like limiting alimony with a termination date when dealing with older couples who have been married for over 20-30 years. Permanent spousal support aims to prevent major lifestyle reductions after gray divorce.


3 Factors Making Gray Divorce More Common

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Kane County Divorce AttorneyIf you are older than 50 years old and considering divorce, you may feel alone. You may have had friends who got divorced when they were in their twenties and thirties, but you may not know any other couples your own age going through a divorce. While gray divorce can be somewhat more complicated, it is also increasingly common. There are also perks of gray divorce - it is less likely that you will need to worry about child custody concerns, for example. More and more couples are choosing to divorce later in life and start over. While it may be challenging to get divorced at this age, especially if your marriage lasted decades, many older adults find that it is well worth it to be able to live the life they want to, free of an unhappy marriage. There are a number of reasons that an ever-increasing number of adults over the age of 50 are getting divorced, some of which may surprise you. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to work with an attorney who has experience addressing the unique divorce concerns of older couples. 

Why is Gray Divorce Becoming More Common? 

A number of societal and economic factors have contributed to the rise in gray divorce. Today, nearly one in four people who gets divorced is over the age of 50. A few factors that may partially explain this increase may include: 

  • Longevity - People are simply living longer and staying healthier for longer. Many older adults still enjoy going out and socializing or engaging in hobbies, giving them new opportunities to meet people and enjoy life. Where decades ago, a 55 year old was likely ready to retire, a 55 year old today may be at the peak of their career - or young enough to reenter the workforce after years as a homemaker.


Naperville Grey Divorce LawyerDivorce can be a challenging process, regardless of your age. However, if you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage later in life, you may need to address some unique financial and emotional considerations. The issue of spousal support (also known as alimony) may be a significant concern, and you may need to determine whether this form of support will be necessary, how much you may pay or receive, and how long these obligations will remain in effect.

Understanding Spousal Support

In some divorce cases, a court may determine that one spouse has a legal obligation to make ongoing payments to the other spouse after the dissolution of their marriage. Spousal maintenance, as it is known under Illinois law, is designed to help a spouse with a lower income or who has been out of work for an extended period of time continue living at a similar standard to what the couple enjoyed during their marriage. Spousal support can be awarded in both short-term and long-term marriages, but it can be a particularly important issue in a gray divorce.

In a situation where a couple has been married for a significant number of years and has built a life together, one spouse may have sacrificed their career or earning potential to support the other spouse's career or to take care of their family. When the marriage ends, the financially dependent spouse may face significant challenges in terms of income and financial stability. If the court determines that a spouse will not be able to support themselves on their own, spousal support may be awarded.


Naperville Divorce LawyerThere is quite a lot of information out there designed to help younger spouses going through a divorce care for their minor children throughout the process. While there is no doubt that a parents’ divorce can be challenging for minor children, it can also be challenging for adult children when their older adult parents get divorced. Although your children may not live with you anymore, there will still be changes in the family structure they must cope with. Your children may even have children of their own who may be surprised to learn that their grandparents are splitting. If you have not yet told your adult children about your impending divorce, you may be concerned about how they will react. Although your children are now grown, they are still your children and your divorce may have an impact on them. Knowing how to approach talking to your adult children about your divorce can go a long way towards keeping the peace in your family. 

Tips for Discussing Your Divorce With Adult Children 

Regardless of your respective ages, you are still a parent and your children are still your children. Some tips for talking about your divorce with your adult children include: 

  • Avoid speaking ill of your spouse - Even though your spouse is no longer going to be your spouse, they are still going to be your child’s other parent. It is best to not disparage your soon-to-be ex-spouse in front of your children. This can create a conflict of loyalty, and make your child feel that they must choose a side. 


Wheaton Grey Divorce LawyerWhen a couple decides to divorce, one of the most important issues that need to be addressed is the division of their assets. This division may also include any trusts that have been established on behalf of or by either spouse. A trust is a legal entity established to hold and manage assets placed in the trust on behalf of beneficiaries named in the certificate of trust. Depending on the type and the amount of assets contained, trusts can have a significant impact on how assets are divided in an Illinois divorce.

Trust Classification

The first step is determining the classification of the trust. Is the trust separate property and protected from asset division or is it part of the marital estate and subject to that division? Generally, if a trust was established before the couple married or if it was established through inheritance, it is considered separate property. However, if the trust was jointly managed by both spouses and/or contributions into the trust included marital assets, the court may consider it marital property that is subject to division.

Trust Provisions

The terms of the trust document also play a critical role in determining how the assets in the trust are addressed in a divorce. The certificate of trust may contain provisions regarding the distribution of assets in the event of divorce or dissolution of marriage. It is essential to carefully review the trust agreement to understand how it addresses divorce-related matters and the rights of the divorcing parties and another reason why having a skilled divorce attorney representing you is crucial.


Geneva Divorce LawyerThere are many reasons that divorces involving older adults are complex. Among them is the fact that older adults generally have more significant assets than younger people in their 20s or 30s. You may have investments, real estate properties, retirement assets, stocks, multiple motor vehicles, high-value personal property, and more.

Deciding who keeps what is often one of the hardest parts of a divorce. If you and your soon-to-be ex disagree regarding how to split up your shared property, it is important to know how Illinois law addresses the division of assets during a divorce.

Negotiated Settlement Agreements

Illinois courts encouraged divorcing spouses to negotiate an agreement regarding the division of their property and debts if possible. If you and your spouse disagree about who should keep the marital home, how to address valuables such as jewelry or fine art, whether to sell your vacation home, or any other aspect of the property division process, consider working with a divorce attorney. Your divorce attorney can help you negotiate the terms of the property division arrangement with your spouse. Another option is mediation. During mediation, divorcing spouses work with a mediator who facilitates conversation and helps the spouses reach an agreement.


Geneva Divorce Over 50 AttorneyYou have saved a lifetime towards your Social Security in retirement, paying 6.2% of your income every paycheck. You are counting on this money when you are no longer working. You may be wondering if divorce will affect your Social Security benefits. The good news is that your government benefits are untouchable in a divorce. An Illinois divorce lawyer can explain which assets and income are subject to division in divorce.

Your Social Security Check Is Not on the Table

In Illinois, Social Security benefits are not subject to equitable distribution, and these benefits are not treated the same as retirement accounts. Even if an ex-spouse is claiming benefits based on your working record, as described below, it will not affect the size of your check. However, a court may consider the size of each spouse's potential Social Security check when deciding the equitable distribution of other marital property.

All Government Benefits Remain Yours

You may also be receiving other government benefits. For example, you could be a retired servicemember getting disability checks each month for your injuries. Those benefits remain yours, and they are not divisible in a divorce. However, your government pension and employer contributions to your retirement account are not considered a benefit, and those can be divided with your ex-spouse. 


DuPage County Divorce LawyerDivorce can have a significant financial impact on both parties - especially if the spouses are over age 50. For some divorced individuals, spousal maintenance, Social Security retirement benefits, and retirement funds help relieve some of the financial burden created by divorce. However, retirement benefits are not available until the recipient reaches a certain age. Spousal maintenance is usually temporary and may not provide as much financial support as the individual requires.

Consequently, many older adults facing divorce decide that their best option is to find a job. For those who have been out of the workforce for years or decades, this is no simple matter.

In this blog, we discuss tips for reentering the workforce after a long absence due to spending time as a homemaker or parent.


"GenevaThe term gray divorce refers to a divorce involving individuals over the age of 50. Many people are surprised to learn that divorce among older people is extremely common. In fact, the divorce rate for this demographic has risen more than for any other age range.

If you are planning to end your marriage and you are over age 50, make sure you understand how gray divorce differs from divorce involving younger couples. Work with an experienced lawyer who understands these complexities.

Older Couples Often Have Greater Wealth

One major difference between gray divorce and traditional divorce is that couples in their 50s or older often have far more assets than younger couples. Instead of having a rental and a few modest possessions, an older couple may have a main home as well as a vacation home, significant investments, jewelry and other valuable possessions, retirement accounts, and more.


Can I Date Someone Else During My Divorce?

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Yorkville Divorce LawyerAlthough divorce ends a marriage and can be an extremely painful time in a person's life, divorce also opens up the opportunity for a new relationship – even when the spouses are older. Cupid's arrow does not always have the best timing, and sometimes a person meets the man or woman of their dreams before their divorce is finalized.

If you are getting divorced and you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse have met somebody new, you may wonder what the laws in Illinois are regarding dating during divorce. Depending on the circumstances, dating somebody before your divorce is over could have significant consequences.

Is Adultery Against the Law?

Being in a relationship with somebody else while you are still married is technically adultery - even if you are in the midst of a divorce. Theoretically, Illinois does have an adultery law on the books. However, the law has not been enforced in decades. Illinois courts understand that relationships are complicated and that dating somebody while you are still married is not terribly uncommon. So, you do not have to worry about facing criminal charges for dating somebody while you are still married. That being said, it is still possible for an extramarital relationship to affect your divorce case.


Kane County Grey Divorce LawyerIndividuals over 50 are getting divorced at a faster rate than any other demographic. Although divorce closes the door to one relationship, it often creates an opportunity for a new relationship. If you are getting remarried later in life, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement can be beneficial for anyone of any age and life circumstance. However, prenuptial agreements are especially important for individuals in their second or third marriages.

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement can provide clarity and protection from the financial uncertainty that often accompanies a marriage. It is essential to consider this legal document if you are getting remarried after 50, as it will help protect your assets and set a foundation of understanding between you and your soon-to-be spouse. By having a prenuptial agreement in place before the wedding ceremony, both parties will understand their rights and obligations in the event of a divorce.

A prenup can protect any assets you may have accumulated prior to marriage, including investments, real estate, IRAs and 401(k)s. In addition, prenuptial agreements can define what is considered marital property and what is non-marital property. There are many reasons that couples may want to designate certain assets as non-marital property. For example, if one spouse owns a business, he or she may want to use a prenuptial agreement to ensure that the business assets, as well as business debts, remain his or her sole responsibility. Prenuptial agreements can also be used to ensure certain assets are passed down to children from a previous marriage upon a spouse's death.


Yorkville Grey Divorce LawyerWhen you have a family business and are getting divorced later in life, the situation can be especially complicated. A family business is not just another asset to divide up, it is much more than that. Consequently, deciding how to handle a family business during a gray divorce can be extremely difficult, legally and emotionally.

An Accurate Valuation is Usually the First Step

Before you can decide how to handle the family business during your divorce, you will need to determine its value. This means obtaining a professional business valuation. It is important to get an accurate and detailed appraisal so that you have a clear sense of the company's worth before making any decisions about it.

Determining Ownership and Division

Once you have determined the value of your family business, the next step is to decide who will retain control over it. Depending on the size of the business and its value, you might opt to sell it off and split the profits. This is a popular choice for those who want a fresh start or need to use the proceeds to pay off joint debt during the divorce. Of course, it can be very hard to give up a business that you have likely poured years of time and energy into.


IL divorce lawyerDivorce can have an impact on many different parts of your life, no matter your age or the stage of life you are in. However, for older individuals, getting divorced can be equally liberating and frightening because while you might be relieved to finally be leaving an unhappy or even abusive marriage, you may also be stressed about the impact of divorce on many areas of your life, including your health.

Research suggests that these worries are not unfounded. Divorce can be very hard on a person’s health, but it does not have to be. Here are some tips for protecting your health, both physical and mental, during and after divorce.

Ways to Protect Yourself Following a Divorce Later in Life

One of the first things to understand about the negative impacts of divorce on health is that the most profound effects are felt in the short term. Keeping perspective, then, can help you remember that the initial stages of divorce are the hardest, that they will not last forever, and, if you take steps to protect your health, you can come out the other side better prepared to care for your mind and body.


Going Back to Work After a Gray Divorce

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IL divorce lawyerOne of the most important considerations when thinking about divorce is its potential impact on your finances. When a couple gets divorced in Illinois, they need to divide their marital assets; even after a fair asset division, however, one or both partners may be left without the financial resources they need to live on their own or retire. This could necessitate reentering the workforce, which can be an intimidating prospect for some, especially if they have not been working for many years. But going back to work is possible, and many employers are glad to have the experience, perspective, and work ethic that younger workers are often missing. Here are six tips for successfully reentering the workforce after divorce.

Tips for Getting a Job After 50

Although many have rightfully complained about workplace discrimination against older individuals, in many ways there has never been a better time to go back to work as an experienced or even inexperienced worker. There is a current shortage of available workers that is only projected to increase, and many companies are willing to give even those without significant work experience a chance to make a contribution. Experts suggest using these six tips to your advantage if you need to go back to work:

  • Focus on your abilities, not your age; do not mention your age, and do not include it on your resume
  • Be honest about any health concerns that could impact your ability to work, including if you need to take time during the workday for doctor’s appointments
  • Update your skills, focusing on digital literacy, and be sure to include any training (even informal training) on your resume; create a portfolio that showcases your work
  • Feel comfortable asking for a flexible schedule, including work-from-home arrangements
  • Gain new qualifications, including apprenticeships; many websites offer very inexpensive skills training that includes certificates
  • Do not undervalue your salary requirements; assume you deserve the same pay as anyone else in your field and ask for a fair benefits package as well

Meet with a Kendall County, IL Gray Divorce Lawyer

Getting divorced later in life can entail a significant amount of stress about money and retirement. Divorce Over 50 - Goostree Law Group is here to help however we can by first and foremost making sure you are legally protected during divorce, including making sure you get your fair share of the marital estate. Call us today at 630-634-5050 to schedule a confidential first meeting with one of our Kane County, IL divorce attorneys.

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