How to handle divorce in retirement

Divorce at any age is a significant life adjustment; from living situations to finances, there are many things to consider. For those in retirement age or nearing retirement, there are different things to keep in mind. Statistics show that the divorce rate of those ages 50 and older has nearly doubled over the past twenty years as people decide to make life changes.

If you are considering divorce and are in retirement or will be retiring soon, here are some tips to help make the process a smoother one.

Consider Selling the Family Home

While you may have thought that you would never sell your home, sometimes adjustments are needed when you’re facing an unexpected divorce. Sometimes this means selling your family home. Don’t forget, whatever home expenses you had were being paid for by two people, not one. When that gets reduced, you’ll be spending more out of pocket, which means less to save for retirement.

By selling the home, you can get money to downsize your living quarters and hopefully have money to put into savings for retirement. You might consider a new living situation with fewer expenses, so you can continue to put some money away for any unexpected expenses.

Check Social Security Benefits

Getting divorced can also have an impact on your social security benefits. Once you’re at least 62 years old, you may be eligible for a benefit that equals 50% of what your ex is due, if it’s more than your full benefit. To qualify, you must have been married for at least ten years and meet other conditions. It’s also important to note that spousal payments are lower if you start collecting benefits before you reach full retirement age.

Determine What Retirement Benefits You are Entitled To

Besides looking into social security benefits, you also want to see what pension plans you may be entitled to when you divorce. Look at the copy of the latest statement as well as the rules when it comes to divorce. You’ll also want to look at any retirement accounts that were accrued during the marriage. You may need to hire a lawyer or seek the help of a mediator to make sure that the assets are split evenly.

Talk with Your Adult Children

Even though your children are grown and are not living at home, divorce can still be hard on them. They probably never envisioned their parents would get divorced after being married for so long. Be sure not to put them in the middle and keep open relationships with them and any grandchildren.

For many people, divorce in retirement is a new beginning that can open up doors and let them live a happy and fulfilled life. Knowing how to handle specific issues that can arise can make the process that much easier.

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