A gray divorce occurs when a couple that has stayed married for years chooses to end the marriage while close to or past the typical age of retirement. There has been a noticeable uptick in these kinds of divorces in recent years as more people in unhappy long-term marriages realize that divorce is healthier for them.
If your spouse is abusive or your relationship is not healthy, you may want to enjoy your golden years on your own or in pursuit of a better relationship. However, if you have spent much of your life as a stay-at-home spouse, you may worry about whether you can afford to divorce.
What resources exist for dependent spouses considering a great divorce?
Property division and alimony can help you survive after divorce
Even if you have spent much of your marriage as a stay-at-home spouse, you still have a claim to your share of the marital assets. Property that you and your spouse bought during your marriage, like your home, as well as the income your spouse earned while if you supported them in the background, may be part of the marital estate that you can claim in a divorce.
The standard in New York is equitable distribution, which means that unless you have a marital agreement with your spouse, you can expect to receive a fair portion of your household assets based on your circumstances, including your long-term domestic contributions. Additionally, the courts may agree to award you alimony if you will need support paying your bills because you are not in a position to work or command a living wage if you did attempt to work.
There could still be Social Security benefits available to you
You may be able to claim part of your spouse’s pension or retirement plan in your divorce. In addition to that, you may also have a right to claim Social Security retirement benefits based on the credits your spouse accrued during your marriage.
Those who have not worked enough to qualify for retirement benefits or those whose benefits will be substantially lower than their spouses can make a claim to receive benefits based on their ex-spouse’s income. Such a claim will not diminish what your spouse can receive from Social Security, but it could make a big difference to your monthly budget.
Recognizing the various systems that could help support you after a gray divorce could make it easier for you to move forward with pursuing your happiness.