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America’s population is getting older, and older couples with longer marriages getting divorced are more common. If you no longer feel marriage is right for you, you should consider a divorce no matter your age or the length of your marriage.

Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C., represents clients over 50 years of age in divorce and related family law issues. We know these divorces involve unique problems, and we are sensitive to our clients’ wants and needs. We will protect your rights and negotiate a fair settlement that allows you to move on with the rest of your life in the best position possible.

There are No Age Limits on Divorce

Some older married couples grow apart as time goes on. Their emotions towards each other may weaken or turn negative. Spouses may have more health issues and a limited income, increasing the stress on their relationship.

A spouse may look to the past and feel disappointed. Their life, including their marriage, hasn’t turned out as they planned. They understand better than most of us that time is limited, and changes must be made if they want to live the life they seek. One of these changes may be ending their marriage.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken many of us, giving us a greater appreciation for the fragility of life and our health. Increasingly, people unhappy with their jobs aren’t returning. The experience may also leave some older, dissatisfied Americans to decide they no longer want to put up with a relationship that no longer works for them. Many marriages limp along “for the sake of the children” but after the children grow up and spouses are older, they may want a divorce for their own sake. 

Is it the Right Time to Divorce?

In some ways, it’s a great time to divorce. If the marital home must be sold, real estate prices are at historic highs while interest rates are at historic lows. If you’ll return to the workforce, employers are raising wages and improving working conditions to attract job applicants.

Many more women own businesses and earn higher incomes than in the past, but a divorce can be a financial blow to both spouses. The greater your wealth, the better off you’ll weather this storm, no matter your age. Whatever your losses, younger people generally have more time to earn and save money to make up for the money spent and assets transferred during a divorce. If you’re at or near retirement age, that can be a lot harder to do.

Divorce and Social Security

Generally, men earn more than women, but given the division of marital assets and the possibility of spousal support, the post-divorce picture should be more even. If you haven’t worked much or earned less income than your spouse, another way to cushion the blow might be Social Security payments based on your spouse’s work history.

If you are 62 and divorced from someone who’s entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits, you might be eligible for benefits based on your ex-spouse’s work record, according to the Social Security Administration:

  • You’ll be eligible if your marriage lasted for 10 or more years
  • If you remarried, you can’t go this route unless your subsequent marriage ended by annulment, divorce, or death
  • If you’re entitled to benefits based on your own record, you’ll get whichever is higher, benefits from your own history or from that of your ex-spouse
  • You may apply for benefits based on your former spouse’s record even though he or she still works, if you’ve been divorced at least two years before applying
  • If you wait until full retirement age to apply for Social Security benefits as a divorced spouse, your benefit will be half of your ex-spouse’s full benefits

How an Older American Without Health Insurance May Find Coverage

Healthcare coverage is a major concern for those getting divorced. That’s especially true for older couples who may currently, or in the future, suffer a chronic medical condition. If both spouses are covered because one works and qualifies for a healthcare benefit, the other spouse will lose that coverage when the divorce is final (unless you qualify for COBRA benefits, extending your coverage for up to three years, if you can afford the payments).

Another way to get coverage can be an Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) plan. There’s mixed news if you seek coverage this way. Premiums are partially based on your age, so the premium for someone older may be much higher than one for a young American. But premiums are also partially based on your income (which won’t include alimony if you haven’t divorced yet), so it makes health coverage more affordable if you’re not making much money.

Get the Help You Need from an Attorney You Can Trust

If you are considering divorce or have decided it’s the right choice for you, call our office at (215) 608-1867 or book a consultation online now. It’s never too late to start a new chapter in your life. We can speak over the phone, via a teleconference, or meet in one of our offices in Doylestown or Langhorne.