Divorcing Later in Life

According to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau, divorce rates were highest (about 43%) for adults of both sexes from ages 55 to 64. Just like younger couples, older couples also divorce later in life.

For older couples, divorcing later in life usually involves heightened emotions, but, at the same time, it can be liberating. With several aspects of your life at stake – including your assets, family, estate plan, retirement, and Social Security benefits – it is important for anyone thinking about a late-life divorce to speak with a knowledgeable Washington State family law attorney for proper guidance.

At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, we have the experience and resources to assist, support, and guide older couples during this difficult transition in their lives. Our attorneys are available to discuss your personal situation and enlighten you about the important considerations when divorcing later in life. We will fight diligently to protect your rights, your family’s best interests, and help make your transition as smooth as possible. Our firm proudly serves clients in Tacoma, Washington, and surrounding cities throughout Pierce County, including Puyallup, Lakewood, University Place, and Gig Harbor.

Common Reasons People Divorce Later in Life

There are several different reasons that bring about relationship breakdown, even for older couples. Some common reasons people divorce later in life include:

The Couple Has Grown Apart: Growing apart is among the major reasons for breakups between older couples. Over time, couples grow apart due to lack of attention, major disagreement, lack of communication, or unfaithfulness. A late-life divorce may be the eventual option.

Retirement: Couples who retire are expected to have and spend more time with their spouse. Unfortunately, while spending time with their partner, they realize that they have grown apart due to raising kids, working, and being occupied.

The Last Child Left Home: Also, couples who centered their marriage on upbringing or parenting their children may lose interest in the marriage once the last child leaves home or becomes emancipated.

Spending Habits: For some older couples, their partner’s poor spending habits can be a significant concern and may eventually result in a divorce.  

Aging: Aging is often accompanied by changes in the body’s systems and other health-related concerns. Spouses who are not willing to deal with their partner aging quickly may consider filing for divorce.

Differences in Lifestyle Choices: Differences in lifestyle choices can also cause unhappiness in a marriage. Older adults may prefer to spend the remainder of their lives with spouses, mates, and dates who have similar traits as them. This may lead to a divorce.

Desire for Greater Independence: Everyone wants to live independently, and the desire to be independent does not diminish with age. For some seniors, divorce can be a stepping stone to achieving the greater independence they so much desire.

Regrets about Earlier Decisions: A lot of seniors are suddenly filled with regrets about earlier decisions as they age. Filing for divorce can offer them an opportunity to make amends for their earlier life choices and ultimately achieve inner peace and happiness.

An experienced attorney can enlighten you about all the key issues related to late-life divorce and guide you through the divorce process.

Things to Consider

If you are thinking about filing for divorce later in life, here are some vital issues to consider:

Division of Assets: In long-term marriages, property division is often very complex. Determining the value of your retirement funds and differentiating between marital assets and separate property can make the asset division process even more complicated.

Social Security: Unlike marital property, the family court may be unable to help older couples divide their Social Security benefits. As such, hiring a qualified tax professional and financial analyst is essential to help evaluate and divide your Social Security benefits equitably.

Alimony: Alimony can make a huge difference between older spouses. At this stage, one of the spouses may be unable to work or secure new employment to become self-sufficient. Conversely, the potential paying spouse may not have enough resources to pay spousal support. 

Life Insurance: If spousal support is awarded in the divorce settlement, the paying spouse will carry a life insurance policy. The life insurance policy must carry an amount and term equal to the amount and duration of the spousal support payments awarded. In most cases, the life insurance policy may be an additional burden on the paying spouse.

Retirement: Dividing retirement benefits can involve a lot of complexities and needs careful consideration. Hence, dividing retirement benefits may require a separate court order.

Estate Planning: During and after your late-life divorce, it is important that you review the beneficiaries in your will or retirement plans, advanced healthcare directives, and powers of attorney. If you listed your spouse as a beneficiary or any other designated role, you may have to change this to reflect your present wishes.

Every divorce is unique. There are still various other important things to put into consideration when contemplating a late-life divorce. A skilled divorce attorney can review your unique circumstances and help you navigate key decisions.

How Curiale Hostnik PLLC Can Help

As a senior, going through a divorce can be a terrifying experience. On the bright side, divorcing later in life may be liberating, blissful, and help you achieve peacefulness. Regardless, there are different things to consider if you are filing for a late-life divorce. An experienced family law attorney can explore your available options and help you navigate key decisions.

At Curiale Hostnik PLLC, our attorneys have devoted their careers to offering outstanding legal services and knowledgeable guidance to senior citizens in family law and divorce-related matters. As your legal counsel, we can review every aspect of your unique situation and enlighten you about the various options available to you.

Using our knowledge of the laws addressing late-life divorce in family law cases, our team will fight compassionately to protect your rights and guide you through the often complicated legal proceedings. Our team will work meticulously with you and your spouse to negotiate a fair divorce settlement and resolve relationship differences amicably and quickly.

Contact Curiale Hostnik PLLC today to schedule a simple case assessment with knowledgeable divorce attorneys. Our experienced attorneys can offer you the detailed legal guidance, assistance, and reliable advocacy you need to make informed decisions in your late-life divorce. We’re proud to serve individuals and families in Tacoma, and cities throughout Pierce County, including Puyallup, Lakewood, University Place, and Gig Harbor, Washington.


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