Tag: Asbury Park Asset Division Lawyers
Gray Divorce: How to Survive a Divorce Later in Life or After a Long-term Marriage
According to the National Center for Family and Research (NCFMR), the divorce rate among “baby boomers,” or people in their 50s or 60’s, has more than doubled since 1990. This increasing trend of late-in-life divorces, often referred to as “gray divorce,” “silver splitter,” or “diamond divorce,” became mainstream in 2004, when AARP published a study on “divorce at midlife and beyond.”
The current rise of “gray divorce” can potentially be attributed to multiple factors: people living longer, both spouses working and therefore being more financially independent, and the destigmatization of divorce, which might empower unhappy couples to separate.
If you’re considering or going through a separation or divorce later in life or after a long-term marriage, then you may have to address concerns about the division of retirement benefits, jewelry, artwork, confusion over beneficiaries, and worries about how best to resolve complexities related to dividing the marital estate or assets accumulated over the life of the marriage, as well as any existing debt. Not to mention any costs associated with relocating and selling the family home.
As we have previously discussed in “Divorce Ages 50 and Over,” many of these questions and others you may, require extensive investigation, high levels of financial knowledge, and the ability to negotiate – something which we at the Bronzino Law Firm are prepared and eager to provide our clients with.
Unique Financial Circumstances Facing Gray Divorcees in Ocean County, NJ
In addition to the standard issues of a divorce at any age, like equitable distribution and alimony, other problems associated with “gray divorce” may include division of complicated high-asset marital estates, real estate evaluation, health insurance, and Medicare benefits, healthcare expenses overall, and who gets the pets. Furthermore, a financially dependent spouse may feel they need more support given the reduced likelihood of starting a career late in life. A financially supporting spouse may be worried about their ability to keep up support payments as their work-life slows down or they retire.
Divorcing Senior Citizens Caring for Grown Dependents After Their Divorce
As of late, it is all too common for older couples considering divorce to have to care for their adult children living at home, as well as their own elderly parents who may either be residing in the same household or are being cared for at an assisted living facility. This fact also comes with the realization that following the division of the marital estate; there may be fewer assets, thus making caring for “boomerang children,” children with special needs, and other dependents more difficult to manage.
Couples in the situation of possibly having a less disposable income will have to carefully weigh the options available to them to meet these related needs and decide how best to divide retirement accounts, pensions, inheritances, and other assets.
For such a potentially drastic change in post-divorce financial needs, those considering a divorce in their twilight years should seek out a financial advisor, a sound professional estate planning attorney, and consult an experienced, trustworthy, and knowledgeable “gray divorce” attorney who can successfully mediate or litigate a fair divorce settlement that does not leave either party financially stranded.
Although estate planning generally includes a will, medical and financial powers of attorney, an advanced care directive, and in some cases a “special needs trust,” it could also serve to legally protect your wishes for your estate and your family if you happen to pass away before a divorce decree is issued.
Mediation and Valuing a Strong Foundation & Clear Expectations in a Gray Divorce
It’s critical for those considering or going through a divorce later in life to create a strong foundation and clear expectations about what you want your next chapter to look like. Although litigation is an option, an alternative dispute resolution method, such as mediation, is a powerful tool of the divorce process that can usually keep costs lower, take less time, and be less stressful for all parties involved.
Contact our Passaic County Gray Divorce Lawyers for a Free Consultation at our Brick or Sea Girt, NJ Office
At the Bronzino Law Firm, we understand the emotional and financial trauma of divorce. We have extensive experience and resources to properly value all your assets and those of your spouse or domestic partner. We are committed to negotiating fair settlements, but we’re also ready to litigate your case in court.
The Bronzino Law Firm takes pride in successfully representing clients in Ocean County and Monmouth County communities, including Asbury Park, Neptune, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and across Central New Jersey.
Credit Scores and Divorce in Ocean County NJ
While divorces tend to pull our attention to the often life-changing issues of child support, child custody, alimony, and marital asset division, one very important aspect of our lives that can “slip through the cracks” is our credit rating.
Not only can issues on joint accounts damage your own personal credit score, they can continue to do so even after your divorce has been resolved, and you assume that you no longer have any joint accounts or joint debt with your former spouse. In addition, repairing a damaged credit rating takes time and effort, and is not something that can be accomplished overnight.
With these concerns in mind, our Ocean County divorce attorneys will today discuss several ways you can repair your credit rating after a divorce, as well as several things that can be done during the divorce process itself to protect your credit rating and debt responsibilities moving forward.
Check Your Credit Score
Asbury Park Asset Division Lawyers
Checking your credit report regularly is something most financial advisers will urge you to do. Especially when it comes to a divorce, checking your credit report can alert you to things like unauthorized purchases, over-stretched credit lines, and at the very least give you a good idea where your credit stands before you finalize your divorce.
You can obtain a credit report (for a small fee) from credit reporters like Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union at any time, or you can use FreeCreditReport.com to check your credit once a year. There are also a host of websites and tools available to help you understand exactly what you are looking at when you run a credit report.
Close All Joint Credit Lines
Debt Division Divorce Attorney Neptune NJ
Now that you have an idea where you stand with the credit agencies, both as a joint entity as well as your own individual credit report, it is highly recommended that you close all joint credit lines (realistically, this step should be taken as soon as the decision to divorce is taken).
While closing joint credit cards will not erase whatever is currently owed, it will prevent any further debt from being accrued. In the worst case scenario, angry or irrational spouses will run up credit lines for any number of reasons. In a more rational situation, closing joint credit cards is simply a prudent measure taken to reduce the complexity of the eventual equitable distribution agreement, and begin rebuilding each party’s individual lines of credit.
Remember, cutting up a credit card is not the equivalent of closing down the account. Make sure to call the credit lender, and receive in writing proof that your joint account credit line has been closed.
Pay Off Joint Debt Using Marital Assets
Point Pleasant Equitable Distribution Attorney
Most divorce attorneys will recommend that as much jointly-owned debt be paid off as possible as part of a divorce’s equitable distribution agreement. Joint savings and checking account funds, and proceeds from the sale of a family home or family business are often used to pay down marital debt before dividing the remainder between the parties.
This is largely due to the fact that many creditors are not beholden to family court decisions. In other words, many types of credit agencies (such as mortgage lenders) are free to hold either party responsible for repayment of jointly incurred debt regardless of the fact that the divorce agreement states one person or the other is responsible for its repayment.
By paying-off jointly held debts as part of the divorce settlement agreement, both parties can feel more secure in the knowledge that their individual credit will not be damaged should their former spouse fail to make timely or full payments to credit lenders.
Protect and Build Your Credit Score
Wall NJ Complex Property Divorce Lawyer
Like it or not, much of what we now do is done on credit. Things like buying a car, going to school, and especially buying a home are almost done so by taking out loans. The better your credit score, the easier these things become, and the better the interest rates offered to you will be.
If much of your credit history was tied to joint accounts with your spouse, you should consider opening a few lines of credit by yourself after your divorce in order to begin building your own individual score.
Or, if your own credit score has received a few “dings” thanks to issues with joint credit lines, make sure that you stay on top of credit payments for the foreseeable future. Credit agencies like to see cards which have 30% or less of their maximum limit used, so if you can keep your cards below this sweet-spot, your credit will begin to tick back up.
Of course, regardless of your credit situation, it is always advisable to work with a financial planner of some kind during and after a divorce, as they can help you to organize a budget, account for new expenses or support payments like child support and alimony, and financially prepare for the next phase of your life.
Contact Our Sea Girt NJ Divorce and Asset Division Attorneys Today
At the Bronzino Law Firm, we have extensive experience helping clients to reach fair, situation-specific, and smart divorce agreements, including the division of marital assets and debts, across the greater Ocean and Monmouth County area.
Attorney Peter J. Bronzino has built his practice on the belief that when it comes to family law, the only way to reach the types of resolutions which account for a client’s particular needs, concerns, and unique situation is through high levels of communication, attention to detail, and ultimately knowledgeable and effective legal representation.
To speak with Peter Bronzino and our legal team today regarding your divorce, the division of marital assets and joint debt, or any other family law or divorce issue such as child custody, child support, or alimony, please contact us online, or through either our Sea Girt office or our Brick office at (732) 812-3102.