Marriage and divorce after 50 raise complex financial questions

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Divorce on Monday, March 11, 2013.

The number of people over 50 who are getting married in Virginia and the rest of the United States is greater than many people realize. Although marriage later in life marks a happy new chapter in life, it comes with complicated financial questions, especially if the people entering into the marriage have already gone through a divorce.

The National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University has released data about people over 50. Although the national average for divorces has decreased, the divorce rate for people over 50 has actually doubled. One may assume that after facing the end of a marriage, a 50-year-old would not consider getting married again. Recent statistics actually reveal the opposite: nearly 50 percent of men and women over the age of 50 end up remarrying.

A marriage later in life can raise complex legal, financial questions that a Virginian may not initially identify or consider. In addition, difficult questions are even more likely if the person entering into the new marriage has been divorced and receives alimony or other benefits from his or her former spouse.

As a result, it is important for a person entering into a new marriage to be aware of these issues and the effects that the timing of a new marriage may have. For example, the law may not permit the individual entering into the new union to collect a former spouse's social security or pension benefits. Likewise, alimony payments end with a new marriage. Basically, Virginia law does not allow an individual to reap the financial benefits of both marriages.

Thus, Virginians who are 50 and older should evaluate their custody and support issues before quickly entering into another marriage. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to a delay a later-in-life marriage to maximize the benefits that can be collected under the law.

Source:, "Marrying after 50? Tackle these money issues first," Catey Hill, Feb. 27, 2013

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