Butler Giraudo & Meister
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4 tips to help you through an Illinois "gray divorce"

Divorce rates in general have not continued to rise, except with one demographic. A Bowling Green State University study revealed that the divorce rate for senior couples doubled between 1990 and 2010. So-called "gray divorce" is no longer an anomaly.

Dissolving a marriage at any age is a difficult task, but older individuals can face unique issues on this front. Here are four tips seniors confronting divorce may wish to keep in mind.

1. Be alert to marital property division

Illinois employs the standard of equitable property division, but that does not always mean a 50-50 split.

Individuals who want to keep their house may end up have to give something of similar value to their spouse in the property division settlement to get the house. For example, in some circumstances, they may decide to waive maintenance in exchange for remaining in the marital home. Divorce attorneys can help divorcing seniors understand their property division options.

2. Be aware of retirement fund issues

In addition to the primary residence and any other real estate, marital property can also include savings accounts, investments and retirement accounts established during a marriage. So, such funds can be likely to undergo division in divorces.

3. Address the needs of your children

Your children are probably adults now, so you may not have to deal with the kinds of issues younger divorcing couples face with their kids. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for older couples to continue to provide their children with financial support. This kind of support is not usually part of a divorce settlement. However, attorneys can provide seniors with guidance on divorce issues that could touch on such support and other matters connected to their kids.

4. Maintain civility

Divorce is an emotional event, but it should not be laced with vitriol. Fortunately, older individuals are sometimes more adept than younger people at controlling their feelings, which is a good thing. There is typically nothing to gain by allowing anger to take over. You and your spouse have probably spent many years together; you have a history. Try to make the parting a civilized, amicable process. You may be able to go into the future with fewer regrets.

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