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Divorcing over 50? You should anticipate alimony

The rate at which individuals over 50 are divorcing has increased significantly over the years. There are many reasons behind this trend, and they are different for every couple and every family.

However, as we have discussed in past blog posts, getting divorced over 50 can increase the financial risks individuals might face after divorce, affecting one’s retirement and decreasing the assets in their name.

On the other hand, getting a divorce later in life might also increase a spouse’s chances of securing alimony payments.

Divorces over 50 often involve alimony

Alimony is not a part of every divorce settlement agreement. Spouses can petition for alimony during the divorce proceedings, but they will only receive it if:

  1. They require financial assistance to maintain their standard of living; and
  2. If their former spouse has the financial ability to support them.

Of course, there are several other factors that both spouses and family courts consider when determining whether an alimony agreement is warranted or how much alimony a spouse should receive, including both spouse’s:

  • Income;
  • Age and health;
  • Needs;
  • Education;
  • Assets; and
  • Contributions to the marriage.

North Carolina family courts do not often award alimony if spouses earn roughly the same income. Yet, according to Kiplinger, an alimony agreement is one thing that almost all individuals over 50 who seek a divorce should be prepared for.

Why is alimony more common in elder divorces?

The primary reason that alimony is so common in elder divorces is that these marriages often lasted many years. The duration of the marriage is one of the most important factors to consider when determining an alimony agreement. Generally, this means alimony is less common in a divorce after a shorter marriage.

Getting a divorce over 50 does not guarantee a spouse will receive alimony. However, it is a general rule that the longer the marriage was, the more likely a spouse is to receive alimony.

Especially since individuals over 50 are so close to retirement, it is often in their benefit to seek alimony and secure their finances for the next chapter of their life.