Most couples don't expect to find themselves slogging through a divorce after 30 years of marriage. However, it happens more often than one might think and presents its own set of unique challenges. Late-in-life divorce is sometimes referred to as a "silver divorce" or "gray divorce." Some reasons for these situations involve infidelity, regrets, and financial issues. While older, more mature adults may be able to handle the emotional pitfalls of a divorce better than a young couple, that doesn't mean it is any less painful or less tedious to resolve. In fact, late-in-life divorce comes with some unique considerations to take in.
First, a couple who has been married for a long period of time has likely co-mingled assets to a point that exact separation is extremely difficult. Further, assets such as retirement accounts and Social Security income that matter the most later in life are brought to the forefront in these types of divorces. The marital residence becomes a hot topic as well. It is likely that a house in which a couple has lived for many years is paid for in full, thereby giving its owner access to equity. The amount of that equity would need to be considered as an asset to the party who keeps the house, meaning that they may be required to pay one-half of that amount to the other party to keep the house.
Other concerns that may arise in a late-in-life divorce are health issues, medical insurance coverage, income sources, living expenses, and tax consequences. If any of these become an area of concern and neither party ever intends on remarrying, a legal separation may work out better than a divorce. The parties would be able to live separately and independently for the remainder of their lives, while still reaping needed benefits.
If you are considering a late-in-life divorce, consult with an experienced divorce attorney. They can walk you through the pros and cons and help decide what will work best for both parties.
Source: nolo.com, "Special Issues in Late-Life Divorce," accessed December 25, 2017