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Finding balance in a late-life divorce

The rise in late-life divorce filings has been widely reported, both here and within the greater media. As more and more older couples in Massachusetts seek to end their marriages, those who provide divorce services have created customized advice for reaching the most favorable divorce outcomes. Spouses who are at or nearing retirement age should pay close attention to this advice, and make every effort to move forward with a high degree of financial security.

When approaching a late-life divorce, spouses should try to avoid a scenario in which the matter becomes highly contentious. Taking a combative stance is unlikely to yield anything other than a more complicated end to the marriage. When both sides are vacillating between offensive and defensive stances, little progress can be made. The end result is often a divorce that takes far longer and costs much more than it should have.

On the other hand, setting aside one's own best interests in an effort to keep the peace is also a poor choice. There are certain instances in which a spouse must stand up and demand what he or she is entitled to. An example lies in cases in which one spouse set aside his or her own career path to support that of a partner. When that marriage ends, the spouse who made those sacrifices is entitled to some form of spousal support and should seek that during the divorce.

Deciding to divorce late in life brings a different set of challenges than doing so in one's earlier years. The financial ramifications of a grey divorce will have a greater impact, simply because older Massachusetts residents have less time left within the workplace to make up for financial losses sustained during a divorce. Spouses must find a balance between avoiding undue conflict while looking after their own best interests, in order to move beyond divorce in the best possible financial standing.  

Source: Bloomberg, "The Mid-Life Divorce: Don't Get Taken, Don't Get Even", Ben Steverman, Nov. 10, 2014

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