More than a passing trend
By Galen Brown
Ending a marriage in later life is becoming increasingly common. Whether people have grown apart or have unresolved differences, separation and divorce is on the rise in the fifty plus crowd.
Said to be a more stressful experience for long-term partners, divorcing when you are an older adult involves not only financial ramifications but lifestyle adjustments and potential family disruptions. While each partner will adjust to their new single circumstances at a different pace available research offers these considerations:
Many older women haven’t been as active in the labour force so they do not have their own savings, pensions or the same earning power as their spouse does. Suddenly, a single senior woman who usually realize more negative financial outcomes and have greater difficulties recouping their divorce related losses. This should be considered when making and agreeing to settlements.
Make a plan
Albeit difficult, therapists suggest taking things one day at a time. Focus on the present and not the past and things within your control.
To avoid isolation, look for a community of people in similar situations. Connecting with others who are single, or recently widowed or divorced will increase the opportunity for new social interactions, provide access to suitable connections and organizations for support where it is most needed.
Work with professionals
For legal, accounting and real-estate matters try to engage with experts who can guide you through the process. Not only is there government paperwork that is required but there are often complications with the sale of properties, leases, car registrations, debt and credit cards etc.
Build a budget
Try to envision and plan for what your finances look like and who will pay for what moving forward. Consider debt, monthly expenses and income and discretionary items like vacations and personal items.
It’s important to separate your affairs, notify official sources of your separation/divorce, address changes etc and re-establish lines of credit, payment information and contacts details.
Focus on the future
The decisions you have made or will make will affect you for years to come, but don’t get burnt out fighting over every small detail. Divorce has no winners, but if you focus on what is most important to the future you, instead of the negatives, you’ll have a much better chance of not only divorcing amicably, but achieving a settlement agreement you can feel comfortable with.
Galen Brown is an Intern for Canadian Abilities Foundation and is currently studying at Trent University.