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Considering divorce after 50? Here's what you need to know

Maybe you've had an inkling all along that the end would come. Perhaps you've grown apart over the years or an act of betrayal cost your trust. Regardless of the reason, calling it quits after age 50 can be extraordinarily life-altering, even more so if you've spent decades together and planned to grow old in retirement with one another.

When divorce becomes part of your retirement plan, here are some important things to know to help cope with the stress and disappointment of an ending relationship.

You have a lot of company

Throughout the United States, divorce rates are declining-- except among those over age 50. While in 1990, only one in 10 couples who split were in their "golden years," the number now hovers at one in four. This is especially notable because half of married couples are over 50. Researchers attribute this to a variety of causes, including lengthier life spans, greater opportunities and different societal expectations.

Anticipate financial woes

When single, the cost of living is a whopping 40 to 50 percent higher on a per-person basis than being coupled up. This is amplified for women, whose household income often plunges 40 percent after a divorce. Comparatively, a man's household income decreases by roughly 25 percent.

As if that isn't enough, it's important to consider the shift in retirement plans. With the exception of the Roth IRA, retirement benefits are pre-tax. Be prepared to put aside money to pay for these taxes if withdrawing funds early. If you've been married for ten or more years, you're entitled to collect Social Security benefits from an ex-spouse so long as you don't remarry.

Consider healthcare

When divorced, you're no longer able to stay on your (ex) spouse's health care insurance. Since Medicare isn't available until age 65, anticipate some supplemental health care fees if you haven't reached your mid-60s. Keep in mind that insurance plans charge more as you age, so it's important to seek one out as soon as possible. Losing a spouse also means the loss of a valuable support system. Accessing long-term care insurance will help in the event that you need in-home care or an assisted living facility.

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Divorce: a Practical Guide

Divorce: A Practical Guide

Attorney Jusino’s new book on divorce is an easy read and full of valuable information. Learn More