Complications That Arise in a Gray Divorce

Gray divorce has become even more popular in Charlotte, North Carolina in recent years. Gray divorce refers to divorce of a couple who are over the age of 50. The percentage of people who have gotten divorced over the age of 50 has doubled since 1990. In the 1990s, only one in 10 individuals over the age of 50 divorced.

Right now, one out of every four people who divorce is over the age of 50. It is also possible that these rates could double in the near future. Going through a gray divorce comes with its own challenges. Gray divorces are often financially and emotionally traumatic. This emotional trauma can also affect the family members of the divorcing couple. Many individuals who go through a gray divorce experience financial and emotional burnout after their divorce.

Contact Experienced Charlotte Gray Divorce Lawyer

Those who go through a gray divorce have decades of combined memories full of love, tears, and laughter that they must contend with after the divorce becomes finalized. If you are considering a gray divorce in Charlotte, you will need an experienced lawyer on your side. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable gray divorce attorneys today.

The Division of Assets in a Gray Divorce

The longer a married couple is together, the more difficult the division of assets becomes. Many individuals who go through a gray divorce own real estate, retirement accounts, stocks, businesses, and other assets. It can be more challenging to divide the assets of established older adults than a young couple who recently got married and does not have many assets.

Under North Carolina law, family court judges follow the rules of equitable distribution for property division. In the process of equitable distribution, the court attempts to divide a couple’s assets considering a set of factors enumerated in the equitable distribution statute. In other words, North Carolina judges have some discretion when deciding how to divide assets during a gray divorce.

While judges start with the presumption that each spouse should receive an equal split of their divisible property, when dividing the property evenly is not equitable for one or both spouses, they will divide the property as they see fit according to 13 different factors that are listed in North Carolina’s laws. The longer that people have been married, the less clear-cut it is to decide which spouse is entitled to which assets.

Social Security and Retirement Benefits

People going through a gray divorce are already usually retired or they are approaching retirement age. As the cost of retirement continues to increase, spouses going through a gray divorce are rightly concerned about dividing up their retirement benefits. Social Security is a program created by the federal government. The government provides financial payments to qualifying individuals with money collected from payroll taxes.

When couples are age 62 or older and eligible to collect Social Security, their social security benefits will be an important part of the division of property. Per federal regulations, a divorced spouse is entitled to their former spouse’s disability or old-age benefits when:

  • The couple had a valid marriage for at least 10 years before their divorce
  • The spouse applies to receive the insured’s benefits with the Social Security Administration
  • The divorced spouse who is petitioning for Social Security benefits has not remarried
  • The spouse who is petitioning for Social Security is age 62 or older
  • The spouse who is petitioning for benefits is not already entitled to his or her own disability or old-age benefits, and their own benefits are equal or greater to the other spouse’s full Social Security benefits

When it comes to retirement benefits, North Carolina judges will apply equitable distribution principles. It is important to hire an experienced gray divorce lawyer who can fight for your right to your retirement account. Many older individuals are dependent on their retirement accounts to support themselves throughout their golden years.

Gray Divorce and Health Insurance

What happens to a couple’s health insurance when they get divorced? After the divorce becomes finalized, the health insurance for the partner who is not employed will become terminated. Often individuals involved in a gray divorce have Medicare coverage, but also supplemental coverage through a private insurance carrier. A lack of health insurance can cost people thousands of dollars. If you are the spouse who will lose their health insurance after the divorce, you need a divorce lawyer who can help you fight for enough assets to help you purchase health insurance after your divorce.