Forget the Mid-Life Crisis…What to Know About the Mid-Life Divorce

We just covered one surprising topic in the world of divorce—the fact that rates are declining. According to a New York Times piece just released, the myth that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce isn’t holding true—at least not for people who got married in the 2000s.

But what about the rest of married couples—those people who have been married for decades.

Their statistics may not be as rosy in terms of divorce rate—with their uncoupling often referred to as the mid-life divorce.

Here are some interesting facts about mid-life divorce and specifically how it can impact finances.

  • People aged 50 and over are divorcing at rates twice as high as what they were 25 years ago, and a researcher from Bowling Green State University thinks she knows the reason. People are living longer than ever before and that makes them less willing to stick it out in a less than ideal marriage.
  • After a mid-life divorce the men tend to remarry whereas women tend to stay single.
  • Despite the increasing likelihood of older people to get divorced, there’s also more at stake. As a divorce begins creeping closer to retirement time, there’s not as much wiggle room to financially recover.
  • Lengthy divorce battles and ugly fights can lead to long-term financial problems for both parties—studies show people who are older and divorced have only 1/5th the amount of wealth older married couples have.

While it can be costly to weather a mid-life divorce, most people would certainly say that being able to live their lives on their terms and in pursuit of their own sense of happiness at this point in their lives make it worth it, but you can make your own path separate from your former spouse without completely wrecking your finances.

Here are some mid-life divorce tips:

  • A mid or even post-mid-life divorce can mean there’s a lot more at stake than there would be for a younger couple because you’ve had decades to accumulate wealth. With that in mind, one or both parties may attempt to hide finances, so it’s important to do your due diligence and uncover everything, even if it means hiring a specialist in addition to your divorce lawyer like a forensic accountant.
  • Many older couples may pursue a lengthy fight to obtain ownership of the house, only to find out that it’s too large, too costly or too challenging to take care at this particular point in their lives. It may be best for couples to work to come to an agreement to sell a house in many mid-life divorce situations, whereas it can be advantageous for both parties to remain in control of something lucrative from the relationship, like a business.
  • It costs a lot more to retire as a single person when you compare it to retiring as a couple—for that reason, if you’re in the midst of a mid-life divorce it’s important to realize retiring is going to often cost you at least 50 percent more as a result. This means you have to either save more or downsize your lifestyle. You may also have to wait longer to retire—in some cases quite a bit longer. In order to combat these hurdles it’s best to have a good long-term plan in terms of finances.

While divorcing during your mid-life may be costly and have some setbacks, it can ultimately lead to a better overall quality of life.

If you’re considering a mid-life divorce, or a divorce at any point in your life, it’s important to discuss your options with an experienced divorce attorney in Rhode Island and begin planning and strategizing how you can make it work not only in emotional terms, but also in terms of logistics and finances. 

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