Statistics Canada reports that getting divorced past the age of 55 is becoming increasingly common. Entering into retirement can mean a big lifestyle change. With that comes reconsidering several life choices, including your marriage. You may realize that being with your spouse for the rest of your life is no longer what you want.
When you decide to get divorced decades into your marriage, it can come as a shock to your family and friends. You have raised children, changed careers, travelled the world, moved around, been through the ups and downs of your marriage, all with your spouse by your side. At this point, you may feel pressured into staying married simply because you have established and maintained a life with your spouse for so long. However, it is important to remember that longevity does not necessarily signal marital satisfaction.
In some cases, spouses will be spending more time together than they have in decades. Underlying resentment and incompatibilities can rear their head in ugly ways. In some cases, this can result in anxiety or depression for one or both spouses. In Japan, this is referred to as ‘retired husband syndrome’.
Getting divorced decades into your marriage does differ from divorces in shorter-term marriages. We've compiled a list of tips to help you best prepare for the divorce process:
1. Find Out Which Divorce Process is Best For You
If you would like to avoid hefty legal fees that will cut into your retirement savings and a lengthy trial that will cause you stress, there are several alternatives to going to divorce court. You can file for either a simple or joint divorce. In both applications, so long as you and your Ex can come to an agreement on your terms of divorce then lawyers will not be necessary. This is known as an uncontested divorce.
Retirement should be contemplated by your separation agreement. Upon retirement it is highly unlikely you will have a continued spousal support obligation. At the same time, you are unable to retire unreasonably early in an effort to escape support payments. Let Thistoo help you draft a customized separation agreement and protect yourself from confusion upon retirement.
2. Stay Organized Throughout Your Uncontested Divorce
Thistoo is here to guide you throughout the entire process of an uncontested divorce. Our Plan and Organize features will help you get started and prioritize tasks. Our Agree feature helps you create a personalized separation agreement that covers the essentials you need to consider. Lastly, our Resolve feature helps you finalize your divorce and get on with your life.
3. Get A Picture of What Your Divorce Will Cost
Your finances will be drastically impacted by your divorce. So much so that you may need to delay or reconsider your retirement plans. To better be prepared for these possibilities, get an accurate picture of the financial implications of your divorce using our case comparison tool.
4. Take Control of Your Finances
If your spouse formerly took control of the couple’s finances, you will have to learn how to take control of your own personal finances. Sun Life Financial provides a very informative summary of financial considerations of grey divorce. They recommend that you keep track of your assets and liabilities, update your insurance policies and consider consolidating with one trusted financial adviser. Don’t forget to update your will and ensure that it reflects your new circumstances.
5. Consider Your Personal Well-Being
Getting divorced can mean a change in your personal goals, which perhaps you did not foresee happening at this stage of life. Adjusting to a life out of the workforce can leave you feeling restless and seeking new purpose in life. With a lot of free time on your hands and any children from the marriage now out of the family home, ‘empty nest syndrome’ might set in.
At this stressful time, you need to put yourself first. Divorce can represent a chance to assess your personal sense of fulfillment from life. Finding self-fulfillment means thinking deeply about your goals and desires and then going out to attain them. Creating a new self-image is possible at any age. Redefining yourself beyond the confines of your marriage and welcoming new opportunities into your life with open arms will help you heal.
Live the Rest of Your Life on Your Own Terms
Getting a divorce after 55 is going to impact you emotionally, socially, financially, and legally. Preparing for the impact of 'grey divorce' can lessen the negative effects so you can have the happy retirement you've always looked forward to.