Divorce is a treacherous path at any age, but it becomes more complicated as we age.

If you are over fifty (50) and are recently separated or approaching divorce, there are a number of issues for you to consider as you make the transition from married to single life:

Retirement Planning-

If you have fewer years left to work, will you be able to recoup retirement losses through property distribution?
Will the retirement funds distributed to you be sufficient?
What plans do you make now that the married existence on which you based your retirement planning has come to an end?

Health Insurance-

How long should you maintain your spouse on health insurance policy?
How do you ensure that you have continuous and affordable health insurance coverage?
What is COBRA and how does it work?

Spousal Support-

Will you be paying or receiving spousal support?
How do you know what your expenses will be after separation or divorce?
Will spousal support be affected by retirement?

Social Security benefits-

At what age do you plan to begin receiving these benefits?
Are you entitled to receive Social Security benefits from your spouse’s income?

Tax  and Marital Property Issues-

What tax issues are associated with retirement accounts?

What tax issues are associated for spousal support?

What about the marital residence (staying or selling)?

If you are staying in the house and “buying out” your spouse’s interest, how do you determine fair market value?

Psychological and Medical Issues-

How are you handling the stress associated with separation and divorce?
Do you feel you are able to think clearly and make good decisions, or has the separation stress created issues affecting your judgment?
Are other medical conditions to be taken into account?
Is there any impairment to you or your spouse’s brain functioning and, if so, what testing or adjustments should be made?

Estate and Trust Issues-

How will your will change?
What provisions should you make for your children and grandchildren?
How soon should you change the beneficiary provisions of the will and other beneficiary provisions?
What about estate taxes?
Are there other issues- power of attorney, health care power of attorney, living will?
Do any trusts exist and how should they be dealt with in the divorce?

Life Insurance-

What life insurance do you have?
What type is the policy(ies) (i.e., whole life, term, universal life)?
Are you the owner or beneficiary?
What is the death benefit of the policy(ies)?
Are there trusts associated with the life insurance policy(ies)?
Can life insurance benefits be utilized to secure spousal support payments?

These questions are some of the important issues you need to consider and discuss with your attorney and mental health professional as you navigate the separation and divorce process. Your attorney may also be able to provide resources for financial and tax planning, and may be able to refer you to a qualified mental health professional if you desire.