Divorce after the age of 50 is more common than ever before. If you are considering a gray divorce, know that you are far from alone. While there may be comfort in numbers, you should also be sure to prepare for your new, post-divorce life.
One of the biggest areas you should focus on is your finances. Since you are either nearing or already in retirement, you will not have the same time to recover financially as those who divorce when they are younger. Of course, this does not mean that divorce will ruin your finances. It does mean that you should be aware of how your decisions now may impact your future.
List all your assets
Alabama follows equitable distribution law. This means that you will divide your marital assets equitably, or in a way that is most fair. To make sure that you receive your fair portion of the assets, be sure to create a comprehensive list of all your assets and debts. Here are a few examples you may want to include in your list:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Life insurance policies
- Credit card balances
- Car loans
Most bank accounts and other important financial information is available online. This makes it easy to compile and print out information. When accessing bank account information, it is a good idea to download statements from the past 12 months.
Prepare for life after divorce
Most people come out of a divorce with less income and fewer assets than when they were married. Even if both spouses worked prior to divorce, that income simply does not go as far when there are two households, often with fixed expenses. You might even find that you need an additional vehicle or face higher housing costs.
You should be prepared to plan for a lifestyle that you can reasonably support. For example, if you are interested in keeping the marital home, then you may want to explore whether cutting back on other expenses — such as vacations — could help you meet your goals. You should also be sure to account for necessary expenses like food, housing and insurance in your post-divorce budget.
Can you really keep the marital home?
For most people, housing costs are the largest fixed expense in the budget. While having equity in a home can be beneficial, you cannot buy groceries or other necessities with home equity. You may also want to consider whether the size of the marital home is still best for you or whether you have enough home furnishings to fill it.
Although divorce is a legal process, it is very much an emotional process as well. Like many people in Alabama, it can be a challenge to navigate the legal side of things — such as property division and spousal support — while also caring for your own needs. However, you may find that learning more about the family law process can help ease your concerns about gray divorce.