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Wisconsin Family Law Articles

Divorce After 50

The reasons that lead a couple to divorce are complicated and vary from situation to situation. It may be that after a long-term marriage, the couple has grown apart, and the people they have become individually no longer work together in a relationship.  The marriage may also be ending because of something as devastating as infidelity, deception, or cruelty. Whatever the circumstance, divorce is an overwhelming experience which can leave even the most emotionally well-adjusted person feeling as if their entire world is out of control.  When a couple faces divorce in their senior years, they will have to endure this difficult experience while being mindful of the issues which pertain to their stage of life.

“Gray divorces,” or divorce by those over 50, have been on the rise over the last two decades. For a person entering this time in their life and starting anew as a single person, there can be significant financial implications. Depending on their circumstances, the individual may not have been the primary wage earner during the relationship, and may not have many options for supporting themselves. In such cases, spousal support or alimony could be considered. Additionally, it may be that one partner managed the couple’s finances throughout the marriage and now the other partner will have to learn about their assets and debts during the divorce and how to manage their interests when it is complete. Additionally, as each person prepares to leave the relationship, they will also have to examine their retirement plans and funding sources and how the divorce will impact them. A couple who planned to retire together did not do so with the possibility of divorce in mind. However, divorce will mean dividing assets which will most likely include retirement accounts and social security. This means that the funds they planned to share will now be split to support them separately. This loss of resources may result in one or both people having to continue working past their expected retirement age. For divorcing couples with children in college, the parents may have to reconsider how much financial support they can continue to provide to them.

Another aspect of divorce after 50 is dealing with the emotions which come with the ending of a lengthy marriage. Leaving a long-term relationship and entering into a new life and sense of self is a significant transition. Additionally, one or both individuals may be leaving the family home after decades of living there. This may mean leaving behind a space where they feel emotionally balanced and have created cherished memories and community connections. In this situation, the individual may have intense feelings as the divorce is happening and after it is over. It is vital to exercise self-care, take steps to process these feelings about changes, and seek emotional support during these times.

Our office has experience helping people going through divorce and understands the unique challenges presented when someone is contemplating divorce after 50.  Schedule a consultation today. Call us, and we can talk about your goals and help you understand your options. Let us take a “first look.”

Contact our family law office to learn more about Wisconsin divorce law. Get legal advice from Karyn Youso, the family law attorney and mediator with over 27 years of experience.