Later-in-Life Divorce in Connecticut
Later in life divorces often occur after a marriage has lasted decades, possibly 30, 40 years, or more. Generally, the longer the marriage, the more intertwined the finances, family situations, or health issues become, leading to unique concerns.
Here are some questions you may be asking yourself if you’re considering a later in life divorce:
- Will I still be able to afford my current lifestyle?
- How will my financial expenses change?
- How will the divorce impact my children and grandchildren?
An experienced Connecticut divorce lawyer can help you maneuver through the intricacies of divorce and plan for the next stage of your life.
Asset Division in Later-in-Life Divorces
Often, couples divorcing later in life have had time to accumulate considerable assets, including savings, real estate, investments, and retirement plans. Property division will be challenging, and typically more complex than other situations, such as when a young couple still paying a mortgage for their first home opts to divorce.
A late-divorcing couple might also be retired or planning for retirement. One or both spouses may even already be receiving their pensions, which will also influence property division.
Connecticut Family Law: All Property and Equitable Distribution
Many Connecticut residents hold the misconception that Connecticut family law courts divide property on a 50/50 principle. In reality, property division during divorces in Connecticut follows two principles: “all property” and “equitable distribution.”
“All property” means that, unless a prenuptial agreement exists, literally all assets belonging to either spouse count as marital property and are divisible, with very few exceptions. “Equitable distribution” means that the court may rule as it considers fair during property division. Thus, asset division orders can be complex, unpredictable, and subject to many influencing factors.
In many marriages, the couple’s retirement assets are in one spouse’s name only, which may make the other spouse feel vulnerable during divorce, especially when divorcing later in life. It is important to remember that in Connecticut, retirement assets also fall under the definition of divisible marital property.
Later-in-Life Divorce and Alimony
When Connecticut family law courts award alimony, one factor the court will consider is how long the marriage lasted.
If one of the spouses was the primary wage earner for 30 or 40 years while the second spouse focused on raising children, managing the household, and assisting the other in their career, they became dependent. With divorce ahead, the non-earning spouse now faces the prospect of highly-limited employability and little, if any, time to accumulate retirement savings as the marriage ends.
While the state of Connecticut doesn’t have a set formula for alimony, the non-working spouse has a fair chance of collecting permanent alimony after a later-in-life divorce.
However, Connecticut courts also consider property division as they award alimony. In other words, if the dependent spouse receives a larger share of the couple’s existing assets, the court may grant lower alimony.
Later-in-Life Divorce and Children
Although many couples divorcing later in life have no minor children and thus face no custody or child support issues, there are often other financial considerations. These include savings for adult children, such as college funds, paying for a wedding, or additional assistance. The divorce agreement should cover these elements to minimize conflict.
Additionally, many couples have adult children still living at home, such as before or after college. These young adults do not yet support themselves and often depend on their parents for living expenses and health insurance.
While parents are under no legal obligation to support children after 18, it is advisable to include relevant issues, such as health insurance coverage for young adult children, in the divorce agreement.
Why You Should Try to Reach an Out-of-Court Agreement
To work out any conflicts and reach compromises that suit all parties involved, both spouses and their divorce lawyers should try to reach an out-of-court agreement using the approach of mediation and collaborative divorce.
An out-of-court divorce agreement allows both parties more control, flexibility, and predictability than leaving unresolved disputes to the family law court. An agreement can also lower legal fees, save time and frustration, and avoid future conflicts by anticipating issues that might arise in the future.
Our legal professionals at Freed Marcroft have extensive experience helping divorcing couples of all ages settle their differences and move through this stressful time with peace of mind. We have provided legal counsel and support to countless clients here in Connecticut as they successfully transitioned to their post-divorce life.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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