According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, older couples are divorcing at a higher rate than their younger counterparts. While divorce is always a difficult situation, there are some unique considerations that individuals close to retirement may want to consider.
One major consideration for older individuals, even those involved in a high-asset divorce, is being able to support oneself after a marriage ends. Some analysts strongly recommend that both parties consider their capacity for earning a living. In some cases, a spouse may need to re-enter the workforce. This may require learning new skills or updating old specialties.
Property division can also become a complex issue as spouses decide how to divide retirement accounts. The specific rules regarding pensions, 401(k) accounts, IRAs and other retirement products can be difficult to understand. However, both spouses may be entitled to a portion of these funds, all of which can be used to ensure a secure retirement.
Other considerations include the timing of a divorce in regards to one's ability to qualify for Medicare or Social Security benefits. Couples who have been married for less than 10 years may wish to delay their divorce. After the 10-year mark has passed, the spouse with the lower income can claim benefits on the other spouse's earnings. Similarly, a couple may wish to divorce only after one or both is eligible for Medicare.
Individuals who are getting divorced later in life may benefit from consulting with a family law attorney. A lawyer may be able to review the client's situation and make recommendations regarding asset division, spousal support and other issues.