The Stakes Can Be High for “Late in Life” New Jersey Divorcees and Newlyweds; Taking the Right Steps Can Make All the Difference
Most family law attorneys will tell you that custody disputes are among the most costly and difficult ordeals that divorce litigants need to face. While I would certainly agree with that conclusion, it would be a mistake to assume that divorce for middle age or senior citizens is any easier. Often the challenges can be infinitely more complex than even crafting a parenting schedule can prove to be from time to time. Such divorces are on the rise statistically throughout the United States. A new study has found that 1 in 4 divorced Americans qualified as having experienced a so-called “late in life divorce.” That number was only 1 in 10 back in 1990. The reasons for this significant increase are likely numerous and include, but are not limited to, the increasing economic independence of women, changing cultural attitudes towards divorce, and a variety of options for modern Americans whose interests and goals changed over the years. There's also something to be said for the role that increasing human lifespans may play; a couple married at age 25 can now expect to live for another 55 years! It may be a rare couple who can maintain the same relationship for over one half of a century. But whatever the actual reasons might be for this trend, an uptick in late in life divorces poses challenges for matrimonial attorneys. A marriage of 30, 40 or 50 years has likely accrued many mutual investments, retirement account worth thousands of dollars and various species of property (both real and personal). Categorizing and equitably distributing a lifetime of hard work can take time and considerable effort on the part of the litigants, their attorneys, and various experts including accountants and appraisers. Moreover, if one spouse is eligible for alimony due to the duration of the marriage and the parties' financial circumstances, it's no secret that late-in-life dependent divorcees may experience difficulty finding a new career. The payor party may need an occupational expert to establish a plan whereby the dependent can be rehabilitated and prepared to maximize their income potential; a payee will need to secure the maximum amount of assets and support allowed by law and equity to survive. Late in life marriages may be happier affairs but they can also present equally-difficult challenges. The most common issue is the need to protect the engaged adults' respective assets for the benefit of their respective children from past relationships. Their attorneys will need to carefully craft a prenuptial agreement that both (1) protects the inheritance of the parties' respective families while simultaneously (2) providing for each parties' care and maintenance into the golden years. The lawyers at DeMichele & DeMichele are experienced at helping couples in their 50, 60 or even 70s and 80s transition to a new life apart from their spouses. We will work with you to achieve a final divorce that meets your needs late in life and also protects your lifetime of work. If you're starting a new life with a special partner, we can craft an agreement that protects your rights, property, and ability to focus on the joy of your nuptials. If you're seeking a divorce or dissolution in New Jersey or, alternatively, need to make sure that you start your new marriage on sound footing, don't hesitate to contact our firm online or call (856) 546-1350 today to schedule a confidential initial consultation.