Although going through a divorce can be complicated no matter what stage you are at in life, the issues related to ending a marriage often change as a couple grows older. For empty nesters, many of the most contentious aspects of the divorce process, such as child custody, are no longer an issue. Still, even after children are grown the dissolution process is rarely easy. Anyone who is considering a midlife divorce should take important steps to understand and protect their rights.
Normally, who will maintain primary child custody is a key issue when parents divorce. Once the children are self-sufficient, however, custody is no longer a source of contention. Although parents may find themselves attempting to negotiate where adult children will spend holidays and vacations, a judge will not be involved in the process. In addition, absent special needs or an agreement to fund a child’s college tuition, child support is no longer an issue for empty nest divorcees.
When an older couple chooses to end their marriage, spousal support awards may be different as well. In California, a lower wage earner will generally receive six months of alimony for each year a couple was married if the marriage lasted less than ten years. For longer marriages, however, alimony awards must normally be negotiated between the parties. Because spousal support is determined based upon earning potential, a lower payment may be merited as the career of the higher wage earner winds down. Additionally, a spouse who previously did not work or stayed home with the children will normally be expected to begin working at least part-time. Such earnings will also impact an award of alimony.
Oftentimes, when the parents of young children choose to end their marriage, one parent feels it is necessary to maintain the family home in order to provide continuity for the kids. For empty nesters, this is normally not an issue. Additionally, more money may be freed up for the divorce settlement if both spouses instead agree to sell what is normally a couple’s largest asset. One benefit of selling the family home is that the care and maintenance of the residence is no longer a financial burden on either former spouse.
Generally, more assets are available to be divided by couples that choose to divorce later in life. In addition to home equity, a potential inheritance, pension, and any retirement accounts may be part of the divorce settlement agreement. An individual retirement account may be split between divorcing spouses without tax consequences. By dividing a retirement account instead of taking other assets, long-term security may be afforded to both former spouses.
Dividing a former couple’s assets can be complicated at any age and not all assets are created equal. Unfortunately, too many divorcees don’t know where to begin when negotiating a property settlement agreement. You should contact a quality family lawyer to help you protect your financial and other interests during a divorce.
If you are considering or in the midst of a California divorce, call Doppelt and Forney, APLC toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748) today. Mr. Doppelt is a hardworking Scripps Ranch family law attorney with more than 20 years of experience guiding clients through the often contentious divorce process. Mr. Doppelt is available to assist you with all of your divorce, spousal support, child custody, and other family law needs. Doppelt and Forney, APLC represents clients located in Encinitas, San Diego, Scripps Ranch, Linda Vista, and throughout Southern California. To schedule a free confidential consultation with a knowledgeable divorce attorney, please do not hesitate to contact Doppelt and Forney, APLC through the law firm’s website.
Baby Boomer Generation Increasingly Choosing Late in Life Divorces in California, Nationwide, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, October 16, 2012
Custody Agreement Reached in Beverly Hills Reality Star’s Divorce, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, October 9, 2012
Divorce Rights: Parents, Grown Children and Divorce, by Susan Crandell, family.lifegoesstrong.com