Divorces affect a lot of people, from the people getting divorced to the children to the community. When older adults get divorced, the effects are often different, and there can be much wider considerations than what may be apparent at first blush. At the Elliott Frazier Law Firm, we help people resolve complex family court disputes. Give us a call to get help today. Here are five tips for getting divorced over 55.
Adults in their fifties or older may have grown children and even grandchildren to think about. While divorce is a very individual decision, it’s often helpful to start a dialogue with adult children and other family members early so that it is not a surprise.
#2 Estate Plans
Don’t forget about your estate planning documents. These include powers of attorney, living wills, trusts, a last will and testament, life insurance policies, disability plans, and any other documents that may need to be changed. While South Carolina probate laws generally treat bequests to an ex-spouse to be void unless some affirmative action is taken after the divorce to re-affirm that choice, it is still a good idea to change your will and powers of attorney after a divorce.
#3 Build Budgets
After decades of marriage, many people may have come to rely on their spouse for a host of things, from cooking and cleaning to budgets and bills. It is not uncommon for an elderly person to enter a late-life divorce and discover that they have not actually balanced a checkbook or paid bills in 30 or more years. After all, the other spouse was “in charge” of that stuff. If this sounds familiar, now is the time to get a separate bank account, and start learning. You may be able to get free help at local community centers or community colleges if you’re really out of practice.
#4 Assess Health Needs
As we age, we all eventually develop medical issues that require a bit more attention. Maybe you have a heart condition or take regular medications. A lot of seniors become dependent on a spouse for a lot of routine tasks, such as remembering to take medication, scheduling routine doctor appointments, and so forth. If you are planning a divorce later in your golden years, it’s helpful to assess whether you are prepared to live alone. If not, you need to speak with someone right away to determine your options.
#5 Talk to an Attorney
Without a doubt, having an attorney can be your best resource. For one, an attorney can help to make sure you are treated fairly in the divorce process and ensure that your financial future is not in jeopardy. Further, attorneys can often help to connect you with other terrific resources that can make the transition to senior single life easier.