The “gray divorce,” as the elderly couples’ divorce is often called, is a particularly topical issue for Florida. It is one state with the highest median age of the population and at the same time, with an extremely high divorce rate.
For example, Miami and Tampa Bay are among the top ten of all the cities in the United States with the highest divorce rates, and another 11 cities in Florida are among the top 50.
At the same time, as the study by OnlineDivorce.com in Florida says, today, one out of every three spouses divorcing in Florida is over 50.
So, the Florida trend of gray divorce is apparent. Sociologies explain it by the massive influx of people from other states who move here, especially after their retirement.
The mild climate and relaxing atmosphere of Florida attract many people. Since modern older people are much more active and mobile than their peers in the last century, many of them admit that they are happy to engage in such adventures as moving to another state. At the same time, wisdom and life experience suggest that time is too fleeting, and you need to appreciate every second. After many years of hard work and routine, many people ask themselves: Am I happy? Have I lived as I wanted to? Where do I really want to be? Unfortunately, for some, the answer is breaking a long-term marital union. Although… The other side of the coin is that the rate of remarriage in older age is also high in Florida.
Anyway, divorce is a critical decision that (no matter how old you are) has its own difficulties and pitfalls and requires careful consideration.
So what should you pay attention to before you file for a divorce in Florida at your 50+?
- Legal Separation As a Compromise
Legal separation is a way to split the property, marital rights, and liabilities but without actual marriage dissolution. It can be understood as a compromise between marriage and divorce that allows keeping some marital benefits still.
For instance, they do not distribute the retirement payments in a legal separation, and that is one reason why legal separation is so popular among the senior couples. Most often, the right to remarry matters less for them than their current health insurance benefits, retirement payments, or military spouse benefits. Besides, the divorce proceeding can turn out to be more lengthy, costly, and stressful than a legal separation procedure when it comes to long-time marriage.
However, unlike most other US states, Florida does not recognize a legal separation. Therefore, the spouses who are just going to move to Florida are typically advised to consider this type of arrangement in advance. Please remember that you have to file for divorce in the state where you currently live and meet the residency requirements, not where the marriage happened.
- Spousal Support
When applying for a divorce after a long-term marriage, it is worth considering state regulations on alimony. Young couples have alimony agreements in rare cases, and they mainly involve temporary rehabilitative payments. Yet after long-term marriages, the spouse can apply for durational alimony. So in Florida, the court can award durational alimony which term may be equal to the length of the marriage itself. Worth knowing!
- Life Insurance
For a spouse who is ordered to pay spousal support, the financial burden does not end there. In a Florida divorce, the party who pays alimony must have life insurance equal to the terms and duration of the maintenance agreed upon in the divorce order.
Accordingly, the older the person and the longer the marriage, the greater the life insurance premium that must be paid each year.
- Support of Elderly Parents
Married couples in their 50-60s have elderly parents, whom they financially support. There is no such type of alimony that would apply to the spouse’s parents, so in some cases, the divorcees may face significant expenses that previously were covered by the other spouse.
- Long-term Decisions
You should be ready, that in a gray divorce, they may require you to decide on some unpleasant and long-term considerations. For example, the divorcees should update the estate plan and the will during and after the divorce. Such issues, like dealing with long-term care or preparing for last wishes, must also be regulated and arranged in advanced following your own preferences and opportunities.