Divorcing and over 50?

Hi there,

If this is you, you have my total sympathy.  Divorce itself is hard, but to be looking at both the end of a marriage and potential retirement must be harder still.  These are circumstances where you should see a therapist, as you are no doubt looking at a total remake of your world.

Decisions about social security are looming too.  If you are in your early 60’s, you should be aware of your rights here.  If you are over 62 and have been married for 10 years or more, you are entitled to collect benefits on your spouse’s earnings without any deduction in the benefits going to your spouse.   You will not receive his/her full benefit, however, so you should always check what your individual benefit would be before choosing his or hers.

I have a number of clients in this age range and the choices can be very hard, particularly as some of them married later in life and have unemancipated children as well.  Most financial experts I have read or talked to are urging individuals to fund retirement before college accounts if it looks like they may be hitting both, at or near the same time.  Interestingly, there also seems to be a trend at the Probate and Family Court level to have college paid 1/3 by each parent and 1/3 by the child, regardless of the family assets available.

This is also a time to meet with a financial planner, someone who is familiar with divorce work. Most good divorce attorneys will have 2 or 3 knowledgeable people to refer you to if your current advisor will be staying with your spouse.

And finally, don’t despair, sooner or later this too will be done.