Factors Beyond Age
Gray divorces are on the rise; what once was a rarity is now becoming more and more common. There are several reasons for this, but one of the main drivers is that people are living longer. As life expectancy increases, so does the number of gray divorces.
While there are many similarities in gray divorces compared to traditional ones, some additional concerns need to be taken into account. This blog post will discuss what makes gray divorce stand out and what steps you need to take to protect yourself during this difficult time.
Division of Retirement Accounts
Gray divorces, or those involving couples over the age of 50, are becoming increasingly common. And while divorce is never an easy process, gray divorces often come with additional concerns. One of the most significant concerns is what will happen to retirement accounts.
For many people, their retirement accounts are their largest asset. So it's no surprise that dividing them up in a divorce can be complicated and stressful. If you're going through a gray divorce in New York, you should know a few things about dividing retirement accounts.
Which Retirement Accounts Can Be Divided?
First, it's important to understand that there are two types of retirement accounts: defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. Defined benefit plans, such as pensions, guarantee a certain amount of income in retirement. Defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, are based on the contributions made and the investment returns earned.
In New York, pensions are generally considered marital property, while 401(k)s and IRAs are usually considered separate property. This means that pensions would typically be divided between the divorcing spouses, while 401(k)s and IRAs would usually stay with the person who owns them.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. So if you're going through a gray divorce in New York, it's important to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand how your specific situation may be affected.
If you are divorced after age 65, you will still be eligible for Medicare benefits. However, if your spouse was your primary source of health insurance, you may find yourself in a difficult situation. You may need to purchase private health insurance, which can be very expensive.
Alternatively, you may be able to enroll in your former spouse's health insurance plan through COBRA. However, this can also be expensive, and it is only available for a limited time. If you are facing a gray divorce, it is important to understand all of your options for health insurance.
Beneficiary Changes and Other Alterations to Estate Plans
In addition to the changes that occur in a gray divorce, there can also be beneficiary changes. With retirement accounts and life insurance policies, it's important to make sure that these are updated to reflect the current situation. For instance, if you have an ex-spouse as a beneficiary on your life insurance policy, you'll want to change that. The same goes for retirement accounts and other financial assets.
It's also important to take stock of what else has changed since the original divorce decree was issued. Are there new assets that need to be taken into account? Has someone passed away? These are all things that can impact what happens during a gray divorce.
Work with a Gray Divorce Attorney
Because gray divorces are less common than traditional divorces, fewer resources may be available to help couples through this type of divorce. It's important to work with an attorney who understands the unique challenges of this type of divorce. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the process and protect your interests.
At Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, our team can help you navigate the challenges of gray divorce. Throughout the complexity, we are there to make things simple. Learn more or schedule a consultation by calling us at (718) 215-0121 or by visiting our website.