Considerations About a Divorce at 60 Years Old or Older
By Beverly Bird
Family court judges in most states care more about how long you were married than your age at the time you divorce. If you marry at 59 and divorce at 60, the court won’t treat you any differently than a couple of twenty-somethings who ran off and tied the knot. But, if you have been married for a significant portion of your 60 years, this can change the situation.
The Spector of Retirement
If you’re 60 or older, funding your retirement is probably forefront in your mind. You’re entitled to a share of your spouse’s retirement benefits earned from the date of your marriage until the date of your divorce, but keep in mind that many states consider the division of benefits when deciding whether to order alimony if you divorce at retirement age. If you receive retirement benefits, you may not be entitled to support. If you were married for 10 years or more, you can collect Social Security benefits based on your ex’s work record when you reach age 62, and judges sometimes consider this income when awarding alimony as well.
Other Property Division
The longer you were married, the more likely it is that the judge will divide your marital property 50-50. If you live in a community property state, a 50-50 division is the norm no matter how long you were married. But if you were together only a short time, the divorce laws in other states usually will put you back in the financial condition you were in when you got married, no matter how old you are.
- Nolo: Special Issues in Late-Life Divorce
- Divorce Source: Retirement’s Effect on Alimony in New Jersey
- Law Office of J. Douglas Barics: New York Equitable Distribution
- Bedrock Divorce Advisors: Do You Live in a Community Property State or an Equitable Distribution State?
- St. Charles Divorce Lawyer Blog: Am I Entitled to a Portion of My Spouse’s Retirement Benefits in My Missouri Divorce?
Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.