Divorce is often a difficult process, but there are additional considerations for older adults. They may already be retired or close to retirement, and this can mean they might be less able to recover financially from divorce since there are fewer or no working years ahead. Therefore, they need to be particularly careful to ensure they understand their financial situation before the divorce and have a plan for afterwards.
For some people, the priority after divorce could be to ensure there are some liquid emergency savings while others may be helping out children or grandchildren financially. Some people opt to make big changes, setting out to travel around the world, starting a foundation or working within the community to improve it. Knowing what these plans will be can help plan what is needed during property division.
People should gather a list of their assets and debts as well as any relevant financial documents, such as tax returns. They should note what property is individual and what is marital property. If they have jewelry, art, antiques and similar property, this may need appraisal. Retirement accounts have specific rules around division in a divorce depending on whether they are pension plans, annuities, 401(k)s or IRAs. Finally, after the divorce, people may need to update estate plans and other documents.
Couples do not have to go to court to reach a resolution regarding property division and other aspects of the divorce agreement. In Illinois, property is supposed to be divided equitably, which means that one person may get a larger share of the marital property than the other. One person might be required to pay spousal support to the other. Individuals may be able to negotiate an agreement with the assistance of their attorneys. This option is often less stressful and costly than litigation.