How is a ‘Silver Divorce’ Different From a ‘Regular Divorce’ in Michigan?

If you’ve never heard the term ‘silver divorce’, or ‘grey divorce’ as it is sometimes called, it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a divorce that happens in your senior years. In many ways, a divorce is a divorce no matter when it happens. You still have to deal with dividing up your assets just like in any other divorce, and you still go through a very similar process when choosing an attorney and managing all the conflicting emotions that come with the process. 

An older woman with grey hair riding a bicycle alone in the park.

However, there are some significant differences as well. A silver divorce offers the benefit of not having to deal with some of the usual divorce challenges, and presents some other, more immediate concerns instead. In the event that you’re considering a late life divorce, we’d like to share a few thinking points with you, so you’ll be better prepared.

Child custody is rarely something you have to deal with

Kid issues are rarely a consideration in silver divorces. That’s not to say that your children won’t have very strong feelings about your divorce, or that they won’t struggle with the break up of their family (or perhaps be grateful, depending on your circumstances). 

But in most cases, by the time a couple enters their retirement years, their children have grown up and moved on to make their own lives. So child custody and visitation aren’t something you have to deal with, which can be a blessing since they’re so often controversial topics in a divorce.

Retirement benefits can be a more pressing issue

For many retired couples, the fact that they no longer have an income means they need to be very careful when making decisions about their future finances. How retirement plans are divided up matters a lot when they are the only buffer between you and poverty. IRAs, 401Ks, and savings accounts need to be handled carefully and fairly during a silver divorce.

Ensuring that both spouses are taken care of as well as possible for the remainder of their lives is critical. That’s why having a skilled and experienced divorce attorney who understands the complexities of later-life financial planning makes a big difference here.

Social security benefits are very important to consider

Social security benefits are not divisible in a divorce, but there are many cases where a person qualifies for their own social security benefits based on their former spouse’s work history. So even if you didn’t work during your marriage, you may still be able to get some social security benefits based on your spouse’s benefit package.

Remember, just because your spouse qualifies for increased benefits based on your work history, doesn’t mean you would then receive less. It’s a completely separate benefit that doesn’t affect what you receive in any way.

A divorce attorney who understands financial planning is critical

Here at The Kronzek Firm our team of skilled and experienced divorce lawyers has spent years helping the people of mid-Michigan work through their divorces at all stages of life. Whether you’ve been married for 1 year or 40 years, we can help.

If you are heading for retirement (or already retired) and you’re considering ending your marriage, call 517 866 1000 to set up your free phone or zoom consultation. We are available round the clock for emergencies, and can help with every aspect of your Michigan divorce.