Divorce can be costly at any age, but it can be especially hard on North Carolina's senior citizens. Older couples going through a separation will have to split their assets, which must then be used to support two households.
Since the 1990s, the national divorce rate for people over 50 years old has doubled. The rate is even higher for older couples who have been married before.
One way to lessen the financial impact of a late-in-life separation is to consider a collaborative divorce in which both sides meet to iron out a mutually beneficial agreement. Couples who are already divorced may want to renegotiate the divorce agreement to take advantage of new tax laws. Beginning with new divorces in 2019, alimony will no longer be deductible. This means the receiving spouse will not have to pay income taxes on the spousal support. To compensate, this could also result in lower overall alimony payments.
If couples have been married at least 10 years, the spouse who earned less money may be able to claim higher Social Security benefits on the higher-income spouse's earnings history. However, both spouses have to be at least 62 years old.
Regardless of how old the couples are, the end of a marriage can be devastating. Unfortunately, seniors may not have the time to recoup the financial losses incurred with a divorce. When the couple makes the decision to divorce, they may each want to consult a family law attorney. Such an attorney could help a couple come to an agreement on spousal support and a property division.