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It can come as a surprise to New Yorkers when friends or family who have been married for decades decide to divorce. This scenario is not unusual, however. According to one source, the number of divorces involving spouses age 65 or over has increased three-fold over the past 25 years. The AARP has even coined the term “gray divorce” describe divorces among those age 50 and older. The following are three issues those going through a gray divorce are likely to face.
New York is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to property division. This means assets will be divided based on what is fair, even if this does not lead to an exact 50/50 split. Of specific concern to those going through a divorce is the division of retirement accounts. Couples should seek the advice of a professional to determine whether a retirement account is a marital asset or non-marital asset and what this means for the property division process.
It is possible that you may be able to draw off your ex’s Social Security benefits, especially if your ex was the higher wage earner. As long as all necessary requirements are met, your ex may not even know you are drawing benefits based on their record.
It is likely that a person between the ages of 50 to 65 have some sort of health condition. If they were covered by their ex’s health insurance and as they do not yet qualify for Medicare, they will need to obtain health insurance to cover the gap. This may mean obtaining COBRA benefits or purchasing an individual health insurance plan. Those who find themselves in such a situation should also consider whether it is necessary to obtain long-term care insurance.
The priorities those going through a gray divorce may have can be very different from those of their younger counterparts. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s website on divorce may be of interest to older couples who are thinking about ending their marriage.
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