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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

DuPage County | 630-852-9700

Mokena | 815-727-6144   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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What You Need to Know About Divorce After Age 50

Posted on in Divorce

Hinsdale gray divorce attorney

Although the divorce rate in the United States is slowly declining, there is one demographic that has seen a significant increase in divorces: Americans over age 50. In fact, data shows that one in four adults currently going through a divorce is aged 50 or above. These so-called “gray divorces” can be substantially more complex than divorces involving younger individuals. When older adults get divorced, there are special concerns that they must consider.

Spousal Maintenance Is Often Granted After a Long Marriage

Many divorce cases do not involve any type of alimony or spousal maintenance. Generally, alimony is only granted when a divorce causes one of the spouses to be at a significant financial disadvantage. For example, a stay-at-home mother who sacrificed a career to care for her children will likely have a much lower earning capacity than her husband who remained in the workforce during the marriage. Illinois courts make spousal maintenance decisions based on factors such as:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage

  • Each spouse’s age, health, and financial circumstances

  • The amount of time the spouse receiving support would need to become self-sufficient

  • The duration of the marriage

If there is a significant difference in the income or financial circumstances of the spouses, and the spouses were married a long time, it is likely that spousal maintenance will be awarded. Typically, spousal maintenance is intended to be rehabilitative and therefore temporary. However, permanent alimony is sometimes awarded when spouses divorce after a long marriage. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, after 20 years of marriage or more, spousal maintenance may be awarded for a time period equal to the duration of the marriage or indefinitely. Spousal maintenance terminates when the recipient spouse remarries or passes away.

Retirement Money Will Be Divided Equitably

In Illinois, marital property is divided according to the principle of equitable distribution. The marital estate generally includes any property or assets accumulated by either spouse during the marriage. Separate, non-marital property includes funds and property that each of the spouses already owned before getting married. IRAs, pensions, and 401(k)s are treated the same as other assets during the property division process. Retirement funds that were accumulated during the marriage are generally considered marital property eligible for division. A court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will specifically lay out how retirement accounts will be divided between spouses after divorce, and a QDRO will allow for the transfer of assets between divorcing spouses without being subject to taxes or penalties for the early withdrawal of funds.

Contact a DuPage County Gray Divorce Lawyer

Gray divorce can be especially difficult to manage – both personally and financially. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our skilled Elmhurst, IL divorce attorneys have more than 95 years of collective legal experience assisting clients with a wide variety of family law matters. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your questions and concerns by calling our office today at 630-852-9700.


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