How Is Divorce Different for Seniors?

Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally draining process for anyone, but it presents unique considerations for seniors.

As people age, they face distinct financial, emotional, and social circumstances that require careful attention during divorce proceedings. At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., we understand the complexities of divorce for seniors and are here to provide expert guidance and support.

In this post, we'll explore the key aspects that make divorce different for seniors and offer valuable tips to help navigate this difficult transition.

Divorce Can Affect Retirement Benefits

Because Florida is an equitable distribution state, assets jointly owned between spouses can be divided in a way neither may anticipate. This means that your retirement savings could be distributed unequally between you and your spouse, which can have serious consequences for what you thought your financial plan would look like during your elder years.

Specifically, Florida allows courts to divide retirement assets such as these:

  • 401(k) plans
  • Annuities
  • Pensions
  • Profit-sharing
  • Deferred compensation plans
  • Insurance plans

You may not have planned on living off Social Security benefits alone, which is why it’s important to consult with an attorney for help during your divorce. Seniors with additional assets should seek legal help to ensure their rights and interests are fairly considered during divorce.

Divorce & Its Impact on Social Security Benefits

Divorce can also affect the Social Security benefits you receive. Even if you’re a senior filing for divorce, you can receive Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s earnings as long as you meet certain criteria:

  • Your ex-spouse qualifies for Social Security retirement benefits
  • You are at least 62 years old
  • You were married to the recipient for at least 10 years
  • You would get less in Social Security benefits based on your own earnings when compared to your ex-spouse’s

If you meet these qualifications, you can still receive Social Security benefits even if your ex-spouse remarries.

Senior Divorce & Alimony

Alimony can be critical for seniors who rely on their spouse’s income for support. That said, Florida recently changed how alimony works in the state, which can have significant consequences for senior citizens.

For one, permanent alimony orders are prohibited as of July 1, 2023. Regardless of how long your marriage lasted, a judge can only order durational alimony based upon the number of years you were married, which means all alimony is now temporary in Florida.

Also, durational alimony depends on how your marriage is classified. Many seniors are in what Florida considers long-term or moderate-term marriages. Before changes to Florida’s alimony laws, these marriages were respectively defined as lasting more than 17 years or between 10 and 17 years. Now, however, a long-term marriage in Florida is one that lasted 20 years or longer, and a moderate-term marriage is one that lasts 10-20 years.

Although the changes here may seem slight, the difference between your marriage being considered a moderate-term or long-term marriage could have significant consequences for alimony during your divorce.

Seek Experienced Legal Support

Divorce can be an overwhelming experience, particularly for seniors who face unique circumstances and challenges. At Tinny, Meyer & Piccarreto, P.A., we are committed to helping seniors navigate the complexities of divorce and find the best possible outcome for their future. Our experienced attorneys specialize in family law, specifically tailored to the needs of seniors.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us guide you through this difficult transition.