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It is true that divorce is declining across the United States, but the rates of gray divorce are increasing. Gray divorces are those that occur when a person is over the age of 50. When considering divorce as a person gets older, many think that it is going to be simpler. After all, there often are not issues such as child custody or child support to consider.
However, there are other issues to think about in gray divorce, and these issues do not come up with other types of divorces. Two main issues, in fact, are more present in gray divorces than any other. Those factors are spousal maintenance and retirement accounts.
Many divorces in Illinois do not involve alimony or, as the state refers to it, spousal maintenance. Maintenance is typically only awarded when the divorce is going to leave one spouse at a significant financial disadvantage. For example, if one parent stays at home to raise the children while the other advances their career, the courts will likely award the stay-at-home parent spousal maintenance so the stay-at-home parent is not left in financial hardship after the divorce. When maintenance is awarded under these circumstances, it is typically just temporary.
However, the courts are also likely to award spousal maintenance when the couple was married for a long time. One spouse will still likely face financial hardship after the divorce. When this is the case, the courts are even more inclined to award it when the marriage was long. As such, one spouse is often awarded maintenance in a gray divorce. Unlike other divorces, spousal maintenance is also permanent, as it will likely be awarded for the same duration as the two people were married.
Illinois is an equitable distribution state when it comes to property division. This means that any retirement funds acquired during the marriage will also be divided fairly, although not necessarily equally, just like any other property. A court order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will outline how retirement funds will be divided between spouses after a gray divorce. This form is necessary so that taxes and other penalties are not levied for the early withdrawal of these funds.
It is important that both spouses are aware of this before they file for a gray divorce. The spouse with the retirement funds should understand that they will have fewer of these funds, and the spouse without retirement funds should know what they are entitled to.
There is a lot to consider with any divorce, but gray divorces have special considerations. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, you need the help of a skilled Hinsdale divorce attorney. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we know the most important implications of any divorce, and we can explain which factors apply specifically to yours. To get the help you need, call us today at 630-920-8855 for your free consultation so we can review your case and advise you of your legal options.