When older couples in Illinois decide to get divorced, their concerns are different from younger individuals going through the same process. While many younger couples focus on custody and support issues, most older couples focus on upcoming retirement and financial security. Additionally, many older couples have more assets that they need to divide, and the way they can divide these assets is not always clear cut.
With gray divorces increasing, it is important for couples who have decided to follow this path to understand what property division at this stage of their lives entails. The first thing older couples must accept is that their financial status will change since they are going from one household to two using the same amount of income. This also means that both partners will have to give up some things to gain others. Couples must accept that some of the assets that must be divided are their retirement accounts, which is not always done in a 50/50 split as there are laws that regulate some of the splits.
Since social security benefits are not considered marital assets, divorcing couples will need to negotiate what can sometimes be a major difference between the benefits of the spouse who worked full time and the one who worked part time to be more available to the home and family. For couples to divide their 401(k) plans, a QDRO is needed, which is then given to the plan administrator to set the division. This is also needed for pension accounts. In the case of IRAs, the division of the asset must be clearly detailed in the divorce settlement.
Even in an amicable divorce, each spouse may benefit from the assistance of a lawyer with experience in family law. The lawyer might help explain the legislation, guide their client through preparation for the process and provide representation for their client.