Unlike decades past, divorce knows no age limits. Today, greater numbers of seniors are deciding to get a divorce in Colorado and elsewhere. Although a divorce is emotionally difficult at any age, there are some special considerations for people who divorce later in life. Often, there are also significant financial consequences for a later-in-life divorce, particularly if the marriage lasted many years. Usually, a couple's property has become commingled, resulting in a large marital estate. Substantial retirement funds may be at issue, while young children are less likely to be a concern. At Plog & Stein, our Denver senior divorce lawyers have substantial experience advocating for Colorado residents during the legal process.Pursuing a Divorce at Retirement Age
Colorado is an equitable distribution state, which means that if the spouses do not agree to a settlement, the marital property will be divided equitably. This means that it will be divided according to principles of fairness as applied by the court, but the split may not be 50-50. After many years of marriage, your partner and you may have accumulated a significant amount of marital property, and you may no longer have much separate property. Thus, the division of marital property may be emotionally fraught, particularly when parties are concerned with how they will make it financially during their so called “golden years.” With lengthy marriages, it is extremely likely that equal division of marital assets will be considered “equitable.” Beyond making sure marital property is divided fairly, it’s also important to look at whether any of the property is income producing.
Equally important to seniors going through a divorce are the issues of income and support. For some couples, the sole source of income might be Social Security. For others, there may also be pensions or other retirement accounts. When couples divorce after both are retired, the income to be divided is often fixed. However, divorce can arise shortly before retirement. The spouse primarily providing for the family at age 59 may only have a few years left until traditional retirement age. This can be troubling for both, particularly the dependent spouse, in that any spousal support calculation will only include income derived from employment until the primary earner retires, which he or she will be allowed to do at the traditional age for his or her industry. Ongoing expenses and financial obligations will need to be met for both parties, yet the income stream people once had in their younger years may not be there when retirement comes. Thus, allocation of both property and income becomes more critical to seniors going through a divorce. The senior divorce attorneys at our Denver firm can help them navigate this process.
In marriages of significant length, it may be common for the court to retain jurisdiction over the issue of spousal support (maintenance) for the life of the parties. Additionally, though a court may employ the C.R.S. 14-10-114 maintenance formal of 60/40 when it comes to dividing up income, it becomes more likely a court might equalize the income when parties have been married for 30 or more years and are at, or nearing, retirement age. Social Security benefits will also be factored in as income and it may be appropriate to look at drawing benefits based on your spouse’s earnings, not yours. A court cannot actually divide Social Security benefits as it would a private retirement plan.
Having a Denver area family law firm with knowledge and experience dealing with divorce for people of retirement ages can be critical. At Plog & Stein, we understand the importance of being able to go through your “golden years” with financial security and the dignity you deserve. By recognizing the different set of nuances that come when older people divorce we able to better serve the needs of our clients.Consult a Knowledgeable Senior Divorce Lawyer in the Denver Area
It is common for ex-spouses to feel a range of powerful emotions when going through a divorce. Even if the divorce was a long time coming, it may be challenging. Retaining a family law attorney who is familiar with the unique issues that seniors often face may help make this difficult time easier. At Plog & Stein, our Denver senior divorce attorneys can help you protect your interests during a divorce so that you know that you are strongly positioned to make a fresh start. Our retainer rates are competitive. Contact Plog & Stein at (303) 781-0322 or use our online form to set up an appointment. We also represent people in Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock, and other cities throughout Denver, Douglas, and Arapahoe Counties, as well as elsewhere in Colorado.