The divorce rates here in the U.S. continue to fall overall, but the notable exception is the demographic where couples are over the age of 50. According to recent studies, only 10% of couples in their 50s were divorced in the 1990s. Now that number for the same group is 25%, and experts predict that the rates will continue to go up for the foreseeable future.

It is exciting to think about starting fresh while one is still young enough to enjoy life, but divorce at this time can be particularly challenging for spouses on many levels.

Four challenges couples face

The circumstances behind a divorce will vary from couple to couple regardless of age. Nevertheless, some unique issues are hard to avoid for those who divorce later in life:

Retirement: Couples work towards retirement with the idea that they would stay married. Dividing the retirement benefits, deleted social security and other assets tagged to retirement means that these will be smaller amounts. Along with retooling the plan, couples may have to work later in life or reenter the workforce.

Dividing assets: In Indiana, all assets are subject to division, even if one individual owned them before entering the marriage. Indiana is also an equitable distribution state, meaning property is not necessarily divided 50/50, but rather, it is divided based on what the court deems fair. This includes factors such as the parties’ financial contributions to the marriage. This means a spouse who did not work outside the home may get an unequal share of assets.

However, couples do have the option to draft their own property division agreement out of court.

Health insurance: The policy is likely tied to the employment of the spouse with the higher income. This means that the other spouse loses that insurance after the divorce, forcing them to add this significant expense to their monthly budget.

The family: Adult children are still children, which means that they can be upset about this change. It can also be challenging to explain to grandchildren. After the marriage, one parent may end leaning heavily upon the adult children for emotional and even financial support.

These divorces deserve careful consideration

It is essential to carefully evaluate all the significant financial factors, because after age 50, it can be difficult for either spouse to rebound financially.  Attending mediation may give the parties a more flexible framework for dividing their assets rather than submitting all financial issues to a court for determination.