What to Expect in a Gray Divorce
Marriage dissolution over age 50 was once almost unheard of. Today, it’s extremely common. Roughly a third of people over age 50 live alone. The empty nest syndrome is real. People who invested heavily in their children’s lives often have little left to invest in a spouse. Additionally, simmering tensions over the years often come to a boiling point late in life. Finally, these couples aren’t immune to the problems younger couples have, mostly money and in-law problems, that break up many marriages.
A gray divorce in Florida follows the same procedure as all other divorces. However, at each point, a gray divorce creates some unique emotional and/or financial issues that a Jupiter divorce law attorney must deal with. Gray divorces have something else in common with other divorces. Most marriage dissolution matters settle out of court. These resolutions save significant amounts of legal fees. They have other advantages as well, such as shifting control over the outcome from a judge to the spouses.
Asset protection, mostly home equity and retirement accounts, is usually the highest priority in a gray divorce case. The asset preservation process begins at the temporary hearing, which usually occurs about two weeks after a spouse files divorce paperwork.
At this hearing, the judge sets important ground rules that often significantly affect the outcome of the case. These ground rules usually include temporary alimony provisions.
Technically, these temporary orders expire when the judge closes the case. However, the temporary orders often serve as the blueprint for the final orders. A Jupiter family law attorney must aggressively represent clients at this hearing in order to secure favorable orders in this area.
An early partnership is important, especially for non-filing spouses. Usually, the filing spouse has been working with a lawyer for at least several weeks. Therefore, the non-filing spouse is already at a preparation disadvantage. Only effective representation closes the gap.
During this process, the parties usually decide permanent property division matters. These matters include:
- Home Equity: A home’s sale price often varies significantly from its fair market value price. If the real estate market is down, a fast sale-and-division could cost the parties significant amounts of money. A delayed sale, which usually involves an owelty equity lien in favor of one spouse, might be in everyone’s best interests.
- Retirement Account: IRAs. 401(k)s, and other retirement nest eggs are often a couple’s largest financial asset. These accounts also have a significant emotional value as well. These accounts are also marital property and subject to equitable division. A Jupiter family law attorney often negotiates a setoff in these cases, allowing one spouse to keep the lion’s share of a retirement account.
- Retirement Benefits: These benefits are especially important in military divorces. Retired service members usually receive pensions and other benefits, such as PX discounts. Once again, these assets are marital property which the court must equitably divided upon divorce.
We should also address grandparent visitation. Some states allow grandparents liberal court-ordered visitation and even a pathway to full custody. Florida isn’t one of these states. Grandparent rights are very limited. However, if an attorney includes visitation rights in a settlement, these orders are usually enforceable in family court.
Connect With a Hard-Working Palm Beach County Lawyer
Divorce and related matters almost always involve financial and emotional issues. For a free consultation with an experienced Jupiter family law attorney, contact Caroline Olson, P.A. Virtual, home, and after-hours visits are available.