As the number of couples divorcing in their fifties or later increases, there are financial concerns specific to these splits, concerns that more and more couples need to be aware of. While child custody may weigh on the minds of younger couples, retirement is one pressing problem in so-called "gray divorces". In order to protect your financial future, here are some tips for a divorce that comes later in life.
Do not forget to obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). This is a document that a New York court or agency can give you, enabling you and your spouse to transfer retirement funds without tax penalty. Forgetting this piece of paper, or filling it out wrong can equal unnecessary expenditures. An attorney, perhaps along with a financial analyst, can help you ensure that your QDRO is in order.
You also do not want to hold onto the house if you cannot afford it. If you forego retirement savings and other liquid assets as a tradeoff to keep the house, you may find yourself in much worse financial shape than your ex. Unless you can afford the expenses of a home on your own, then you should look into selling your home and splitting the assets; then you can downsize.
When it comes to gray divorces, the amount of debt a couple has could be higher since the divorce comes at a later point in life. Make sure you understand your full financial picture. You will need full financial disclosure from your spouse as well. If any debt involves a jointly owned credit card or joint loan, then this could worsen your finances. See if you and your spouse can pay back those debts before you finish the divorce.
Then there is health insurance. Are you covered by your spouse's insurance policy right now? After a divorce, you are probably not going to get this coverage anymore, and you may not yet qualify for Medicare. That can make for a difficult search for health insurance. You might be able to be covered under COBRA, where you could get as much as 36 months of the same coverage you had during marriage, but this does not fit everyone's budget, since it costs more. In fact, this consideration alone may make it worth it to get a separation. If you are separated and not divorced, then you may still be covered by your spouse's insurance, while all your other marital assets can be divided.
Of course, this brief outline cannot cover every financial concern you may have. In order to find the reliable answers you need to guide you through this stressful time, contact a dedicated Long Island divorce attorney. At the Meyers Law Group, P.C., you can find experienced and compassionate representation that can enable you to be ready to successfully move on.