Recent studies have revealed that divorce is no longer for the young. Couples that are over the age of 50, even over 60 and beyond, are now divorcing at an ever-increasing rate. Issues that arise in a separation and divorce for those that have been married for over 30 sometimes 40 years are often times different than the issues for people that have been married for less than 20 years. Depending on the stage of the marriage, at Law Firm Carolinas our board-certified family law attorneys, Carole R. Albright and T. Keith Black, and our associate attorneys, John Boschini and Tyler Williams, recognize and adjust our recommendations and focus on the issues that are most relevant to the client’s current pressing issues. Rarely do you have child custody or child support issues for people going through a “grey” divorce. Although an issue of “grandparent” visitation with their grandchildren may arise.
Issues such as existing revocable or irrevocable trusts, pensions, survivor benefits, incompetency/guardianship, social security, and Medicare/Medicaid benefits are often of utmost concern for the client. There is a much greater likelihood of a need for a business valuation or appraisal during this stage of a marriage than at an earlier stage in a marriage. In addition, although alimony by law can be for any duration or amount based upon the discretion of the presiding Judge, consideration of retirement age (sometimes forced by the employer, for example commercial airlines) and ability to draw social security, either on one’s own record or that of a spouse so long as the marriage has lasted at least 10 years, plays a much greater role in settlement or trial of each case. Although a separation and/or divorce will invalidate terms of a will that benefit the ex-spouse, the terms of a life insurance policy or the designations of “payable on death” accounts or retirement account beneficiary designations may very well survive until a final divorce and equitable distribution of the marital estate or execution of a valid separation agreement and so the client may very well need to address these designations during the separation and prior to the final resolution of the marriage.
In addition to the issues of equitable distribution of the marital estate and alimony there is a need for the attorney, with the aid of other professionals, to ensure that the client is going to be as financially secure as possible moving forward. The advice from the attorney should include recommending that the client retain the services of a financial planning expert to ensure that investments make sense for the client and the client’s new situation as a single person.
At Law Firm Carolinas, we pride ourselves on taking a “Global” view for our clients with the goal of providing them with a secure and financially viable lifestyle for their remaining years.