As of 2015, the number of older people getting divorced had increased significantly. The figures for people above 50 had doubled, while those above 65 had tripled compared to similar statistics in 1990. When you’ve been married for several decades, custody, visitation, and child support might not be among your concerns. But spousal support, finances, property division, health insurance, and adult children are a major concern in a gray divorce.
However, you will have more complex issues to deal with. What’s more, more assets will have been acquired over the years, and you will have much more to deal with. An Orange County family law attorney is available to guide you on what is involved in the process and take up the legal burden for you.
How is Property Division Done in California State?
States in the United States utilize either the community property or the equitable distribution method in dividing marital property upon divorce.
In California, divorcing couples are subject to the community property model where each ex-spouse gets half of all the assets acquired in the marriage. This could include:
- Credit card miles
- Car allowances
- Travel perks
- Executive compensation packages
- Rental properties
- Ownership stakes
- Stock options
Note that, it won’t matter whose name is on the title or who earned the money – each of you is entitled to 50% of it. And the early stages of filing the divorce petition involve presenting documents with information on assets owned by each party. This disclosure is necessary for asset division among yourselves, with a mediator, or by the judge.
Can the Court Favor the Spouse that Didn’t Cause the Break-Up?
Being a no-fault state, the courts in California do not consider who contributed greatly to the dissolution of the marriage in making its decisions. For instance, the unfaithful spouse does not get a smaller share of the assets for disrespecting the marriage. There are no exceptions to the community property rule in the division of assets.
So, regardless of the circumstances that led to the irreconcilable differences, marital assets will be split evenly, and each party will have to live with their 50%. Some spouses that were enjoying a comfortable retirement are sometimes forced to go back to work to maintain their lifestyle. Others decide to move in with their adult children, who can work and take care of them.
Is Inheritance Split Between the Divorcing Couple?
All other assets acquired in the course of the marriage are considered marital property, except inheritance. So, while other assets are being divided 50-50 between the two spouses, inheritance is excluded from the division because it falls under the category of “separate property.” Sometimes, certain circumstances can complicate the issue of inheritance.
Things can get complicated when proceeds from the inheritance were used to purchase some marital assets. This means that they could possibly be inter-mingled with the marital assets. Other issues come up when a spouse receives an investment that earns them a lot of money.
This raises the dilemma of whether they should use the income to pay alimony or if it is still fair for the other spouse to pay the alimony. A skilled divorce lawyer in Orange County can offer guidance and answer all the questions you might have regarding the petition.
What are the Chances of the Judge Awarding Spousal Support?
Judges often grant spousal support for marriages that have lasted a long time, that is, a decade or more. It is not always automatic because the court considers many other things before rendering its decision. Factors that are usually considered include:
- The lifestyle enjoyed in the marriage
- Each spouse’s income and assets
- The need for support
- The higher-earning spouse’s ability to pay the support
- One spouse’s contribution to the other spouse’s education
- The spouses’ age and education
If spousal support is granted after a long-term marriage, the court is less likely to set an end date for it. So, if you are going through a gray divorce, it is imperative to work with a divorce lawyer in Orange County, California to ensure that your rights are protected and get everything you deserve.
What Happens If One Spouse Wants to Keep the House?
Many individuals desire to keep the house because of the sentimental memories it holds, for instance, to preserve their children’s childhood memories. But the spouse that wants to keep it must give up something else in exchange. For example, a wife that wants the home may have to contend with the husband getting a bigger share of the retirement accounts or a smaller alimony payment for herself.
But before you decide that you want to keep the home, you have to consider several other factors. Ask yourself if you can afford the property taxes, maintenance, and mortgage if you get to keep it. If you think it will be overwhelming for you, you are better off just selling the home and splitting the proceeds with the other spouse. An Orange County divorce lawyer can guide you on what is best for you going forward.
Do Adult Children Feel the Effect of Gray Divorce?
If you have been with your spouse for decades, your children are probably already adults. Luckily, the divorcing parents will not have to deal with the burden of single parenthood or child support because the children will likely be living on their own.
However, their adult stature does not mean that the divorce will not affect them. They will still struggle with the news, but you don’t really have to over-share the reasons why you decided to get divorced. A reasonable explanation is enough to help them make sense of the situation and cope better.
A Dedicated Family Law Firm Handling Gray Divorces in Orange County
You don’t have to deal with all the technicalities of gray divorce in California. Santa Ana divorce attorney can help you handle the unique legal and financial challenges in later in life divorce, and ensure that you get and keep everything you deserve.
If you need a legal professional to be there for you and provide aggressive and honest representation, the experienced California divorce lawyers at Sarieh Law Offices can help. Talk to us today at (714) 542-6200 to schedule a free case evaluation.