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Divorcing Later in Life

William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law July 20, 2022

Divorce and separation conceptSometimes, after decades of marriage, couples in their silver years realize that it’s time to part ways. There are several common reasons for divorcing later in life, and many couples choose to divorce for a combination of these reasons.

It’s important that you understand your options when it comes to a late-life divorce. Before you make any decisions, be confident that you’re taking the right steps to protect your financial situation.

An experienced family law attorney can help you understand different considerations when divorcing later in life. With over 40 years of experience, William E. Morgan can guide you through the process of a silver divorce. He can also steer you away from making common mistakes when divorcing later in life. William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law serves clients in Grays Harbor County, Washington, including Montesano, Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and in Pacific County, including South Bend and Raymond.

Common Reasons People Divorce Later in Life

Life is full of surprises and unexpected changes, and sometimes those changes can lead to realizations. For example, one of the common reasons for divorcing later in life is the realization that happens when the last child leaves home. Often, couples discover their marriages were more about their children than each other.

Couples in their silver years may choose to divorce later in life because of the changes that retirement brings. One spouse may want a completely different lifestyle than the other. They may find they don’t enjoy life together now that they’re both retired and at home.

Aging and age-related illnesses are other common reasons for late-life divorce, as are different spending habits, life regrets, and even the simple fact that the two have grown apart.

Points to Consider

Regardless of the reason for a silver divorce, there are certain points that couples should consider for their legal protection before beginning the legal process.

Division of Assets

At this stage of your life, you and your spouse have most likely owned several different assets together. Your house, vehicles, and savings accounts are assets that will be considered in the division of assets. Speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney to learn more about how the division of assets works in a silver divorce.


Alimony, or spousal support, is another key point to consider during a divorce. One spouse may not be able to financially survive without the support of the other. In a silver divorce, alimony can become much more complicated because the couple may be utilizing several different sources of income and company perks.


The funds from retirement accounts are often extremely important to maintaining quality of life. After a silver divorce, one spouse may still receive funds from the other spouse’s retirement accounts. Make sure to read through the retirement account terms with your attorney before the divorce is finalized.

Life Insurance

It’s important to know that if one spouse is court-ordered to pay alimony, then he or she should also carry a life insurance policy for the amount of the alimony.

Social Security

Dividing Social Security benefits can be extremely complicated. In some cases, it makes more sense for one spouse to draw off the other spouse’s Social Security benefits. In others, the best option is for the spouse to draw off his or her own Social Security. Speak with a knowledgeable attorney to find out which path would be the best choice in your situation.

Mistakes to Avoid

Just like an individual who chooses to divorce when they are younger, someone who divorces in their silver years can make mistakes during the legal process.

It’s important to be honest. Hiding assets is one of the major mistakes when divorcing later in life. If you conceal your assets, thinking that you won’t have to split them with your ex-spouse, you could face serious legal consequences.

It’s also important to make sure that you will have enough funds to cover all of your expenses. You may be used to splitting your expenses with your spouse, which can be more cost-effective. When you estimate your expenses after the divorce, make sure you account for this.

Last but not least, one of the common mistakes when divorcing is not paying all the appropriate taxes. You could face serious fines if you don’t pay the correct amount of taxes on your retirement accounts and other assets.

Turn to Knowledgeable Legal Assistance

Navigating divorce in your silver years raises many questions about finances. A knowledgeable family law attorney can guide you through the legal and financial processes. William E. Morgan is a divorce attorney in Washington with over 40 years of experience. He can advise you of the best path forward and provide sound legal representation. William E. Morgan, Attorney at Law proudly represents clients in Grays County Harbor, Washington, including Montesano, Aberdeen, and Hoquiam. Contact the firm today to schedule a free consultation.