The Concerns for Mature and Senior Divorces
Divorce can happen at any time in a relationship. You might find that the bonds of your marriage begin to crack during the first few years spent with your other half, when both of you are still relatively young, or you may find that the first problems with your relationship occur decades after you first got together. Every relationship is unique, but the same issues that affect relationships between younger couples can also damage the connections between seniors - from infidelity, to financial pressures. Between the years of 1990 and 2020, the divorce rate for those aged over fifty in the U.S. doubled, as per a study conducted at Bowling Green State University. Perhaps this is a sign that the further we delve into the future; the more people recognize divorce as a solution to unhappy marriages. Of course, just because mature divorces can take place for the same reason as any other divorce, that doesn't mean that they do not come with their own concerns and worries. For instance, Mr. Darren M. Shapiro has found that when senior parties consider divorce, their primary focus is often both future, and immediate financial security. Issues like parenting time, child custody and child support may still be an issue, but many mature couples find that their children have already grown and started lives of their own.
In the case of mature and senior divorces, Mr. Shapiro finds that financial issues are particularly crucial. Things like the distribution of pensions, and decision of whether to sell or keep a house will play a major part in ensuring the comfort of both partners. In these cases, financial issues are most significant because both of the people involved may already be retired - reducing their ability to create new income or assets. Even if one of the parties involved is still working, they might choose to retire, and struggle to find enough money to survive. Though many young people agree to maintenance agreements during divorce that offers temporary support, those exiting long-term marriages may seek support for a longer duration. Fortunately, the maintenance law enacted for New York in 2016 offers guidelines for maintenance amounts based on income, as well as guidelines for the duration that maintenance should be provided.
Financial concerns for mature divorcing couples aren't limited to issues of maintenance, however. The couple involved will also need to find an appropriate way of dividing their assets through equitable distribution. In this case, the market value for any particular asset won't be the only consideration involved in final decisions, as some assets hold a greater personal value than others. As Mr. Shapiro will remind his clients, in New York, assets are shared "equitably" between parties. Though, when litigation moves through a trial, the court will determine how assets are shared - if the couple has stayed together for a long time, many judges will attempt to ensure that neither person is impoverished at the end of a divorce. If the issue is addressed through collaborative law or mediation, asset division will be done with an attempt to provide a decision that both parties can live with - which often means that neither party will have to live completely without resources. In most circumstances, if one spouse is given the home during an agreement, the other spouse will be offered something to balance that out. For instance, this could mean that the other spouse receives a greater pension share.
In the process of distributing assets, senior and mature couples will need to examine various important concerns like pensions, retirement plans, 401ks and social security benefits. One of the most important things that any couple can do in this case, is to discuss their circumstances in depth with an attorney, such as Mr. Shapiro himself. Even people who choose to divorce through mediation will be advised to seek the assistance of a review attorney. The more proactive and information you provide your lawyer, the more your attorney will have the information to be able to help you find the routes that need to be taken to pursue your best interests. Mr. Shapiro recommends honesty and transparency in consultations with someone’s own counsel from clients of all ages.
In most situations, Mr. Darren Shapiro finds that senior and mature divorce cases require a lesser focus on children, as there is less of a need to consider child support, custody and parenting time or visitation agreements. However, that doesn't mean that children won't have a part to play in the divorce from an emotional perspective. Divorce represents a significant life transition - regardless of age, and this means that although you might not need to argue over who will raise your children, you may still need to think about how you are going to factor your children into the future. Mr. Darren Shapiro often recommends that the best way to proceed during any divorce - is to avoid placing the children in a position where they might need to choose to support one part over the other. One other thing to consider is that, although during a senior divorce, the same concerns addressed by younger couples might not present themselves to you, the presence of emotional stress and turmoil within your family could mean that it's preferable to seek gentler forms of dispute resolution. Many people of all ages find that collaborative divorce and mediation continue to be a useful solution and a healthy alternative to the stress that is often involved with litigation.
If you are considering a divorce, or you believe that this is something that you and your spouse may need to consider as a mature, or a young couple - please contact our principle, Mr. Darren M. Shapiro for guidance on your case, for your free half hour consultation. Couples of any age considering mediation are also welcome to schedule their free half hour consultation. You can contact us either over the phone at (516) 333-6555, or through our contact form.