Divorces among couples close to or past the age of retirement, also referred to as gray divorces, have increased in recent years. Due to a combination of increased longevity and decreased social stigma related to the end of a marriage, many people who have remained married for decades are now wondering if divorce would lead to a happier retirement.
For many of these couples, the primary concern holding them back from moving on with a happier future and more fulfilling retirement is concern about the financial impact of a gray divorce. Truthfully, divorcing at or past retirement age can be financially risky. Not only do you have to worry about surviving on half or less of your accrued retirement savings, but you also have to consider the cost of the divorce itself and how that may reduce the assets you have available.
Collaborative divorce, often achieved through divorce mediation, can be a great solution for couples considering gray divorce. It allows them to file an uncontested divorce, thereby minimizing court expenses.
Mediation is often faster and, therefore, cheaper than court
Divorce requires that you go through the family courts. Even if you and your spouse agree that you want to divorce and on the specific terms of how you will split your assets, the Florida courts still need to review and approve the terms of your divorce.
However, as your children have probably already left the house, you won’t have to worry about many days of court expenses if you file an uncontested divorce. The courts will simply review your documents and finalize the end of your marriage. If you litigate every aspect of your divorce, there could be many days or potentially even weeks of court time involved, which can quickly become incredibly expensive.
Mediation means that you only have to pay for the bare minimum of court costs and substantially less time with your attorneys. You will need to meet with your attorneys and each other to find solutions, and then you can move on with an uncontested filing.
Mediation can help you create functional retirement solutions
The courts won’t understand your extended family circumstances or retirement dreams. They will simply attempt to apply the letter of the law to the asset division process when determining how to split your possessions, including any retirement funds. The outcome can be a one-size-fits-no-one solution that leaves you both unhappy.
Mediation gives you the power to advocate for the outcome you need for a happy retirement and compromise when necessary. If you believe it could be possible to work together with your ex to minimize the cost of your divorce, then mediation may be the best approach to the end of your marriage. However, if there are complicating factors such as marital abuse, a history of financial obfuscation or other red flags, mediation may not be the best option.