When couples get divorced late in life, they may face distinctive concerns, particularly in the area of property division. Unlike couples who divorce after just a few years of marriage, they may need to decide how to apportion real estate that is jointly owned or divide complex assets such as retirement plans. They are also more likely to face concerns related to Social Security and alimony. At Goldstein Law Group, our Monmouth County divorce lawyers are sensitive to the concerns that spouses may face during this process.Common Issues in a Late-Life Divorce
In New Jersey, property is divided equitably. This means the court looks at what is fair in a set of circumstances, rather than valuing all the property and splitting it exactly down the middle. Fairness is based on factors related to how the spouses contributed during the marriage and what they will need in order to live their lives separately.
Property division can be especially frustrating for some older couples. Among the assets that may be marital property is the home a couple has lived in together for years. In some cases, both parties may want to sell the house, in which case it may be possible to fairly divide the proceeds of the sale. However, in other cases, both partners may be interested in keeping the house, not only for sentimental reasons, but also for the tax benefits and the impact of home ownership on public benefits like Medicaid.
If you keep your house and you are 62 or older, you may qualify for a reverse mortgage, which allows people 62 and older to draw on their home equity. For those who have retired, a reverse mortgage can be a good way to get income necessary to thrive in the post-retirement years. The loan only needs to be paid back when the borrower moves, dies, or sells the house. This is a huge advantage, and if one spouse gets to keep the home in a late-life divorce, the possibility of a reverse mortgage and other advantages will have to be considered when determining an equitable division.
In some late-life divorces, one spouse stayed home throughout the other spouse's career, raising the children and running the home. This may mean that he or she did not develop skills necessary to move into the workforce after a divorce, particularly if this spouse is over age 60. Homemaking and raising children are considered contributions to a marriage. A spouse who contributed in this manner, rather than financially, is more likely to need alimony after a divorce.
If one spouse is over 60 and gave up certain opportunities in order to take care of a family, a substantial amount of alimony may be appropriate. However, there are no set rules related to whether a spouse qualifies for alimony. Instead, the court will evaluate considerations such as the length of the marriage, the requesting spouse's needs, the spouse's income, the couple’s standard of living, any parental responsibilities, and the time and expense necessary for a spouse to become self-supporting.Enlist a Divorce Lawyer in Monmouth County
At Goldstein Law Group, we understand that divorce is especially challenging for those going through this process late in life. Our family law attorneys can help you explore your options. Many of our clients come from Rumson, Red Bank, Old Bridge, and Manalapan, as well as throughout Middlesex County. Contact us at 732-967-6777 or via our online form for a free consultation with a Monmouth County divorce attorney.