3 Mistakes to Avoid When Divorcing Over 50
Written by Michelle Ogborne

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Divorcing Over 50

If you are among the 25% of people divorcing after age 50, you should know that divorce at a later age and/or after many years of marriage can be very complicated. Gray divorce comes with many pitfalls and rules younger married couples don’t have to worry quite as much about.

Divorce can be expensive at any age. When a couple decides to divorce later in life, the investments and other financial decisions made during the marriage will often have to be revisited. In most cases, collaborative divorce can help you avoid the high cost of divorce litigation. Contact one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices to learn more about the collaborative divorce process.

Below, you will discover 5 mistakes to avoid when divorcing after age 50.

  1. Don’t Forget About the Children

Older couples typically have older children – which means you won’t have to deal with custody battles. But there will be other issues you may encounter, such as ensuring your assets are set up appropriately, so they are passed down to your children if that is your desire. Further, you may still have college-aged children and a divorce may affect your ability to continue to assist them with their college-related expenses.

  1. Don’t Forget About Taxes

Most people do not understand the true value of their retirement accounts. The real “spendable” value of your retirement account could be about 65% of what the statement says. Misunderstanding this fact can create problems when the spouses discuss offsetting retirement funds against other assets. On paper, the trade looks fair, but after taxes, it’s not a very even trade-off.

  1. Don’t Choose the Wrong Divorce Process

In divorce litigation, couples use lawyers to fight for what they want. In some situations, the spouses spend a significant portion of their marital estate on their attorneys, leaving less for them to divide or apply toward their obligations. Furthermore, leaving your future in the hands of a judge doesn’t give you any room to negotiate; rather, the lawyers do all the negotiating for you. In collaborative process, you will have more control over the outcome of your divorce. Furthermore, a neutral financial expert and a communication specialist,together with other professionals as needed, can help you avoid the most common mistakes when getting divorced at age 50 or older.

  1. Don’t Underestimate Expenses

In a lot of marriages, one spouse is primarily responsible for paying the bills. Maybe one spouse is the primary wage-earner or maybe both spouses have retired. In collaborative process, you will have a neutral financial expert who can help you accurately figure out your daily and monthly expenses as well as all sources of income you’ll have available to meet those expenses. That way, you’ll each know how much money you will need to live on going forward.

  1. Don’t Forget About Debt

In community property states like Arizona, each spouse is generally held responsible 50% of the debt, regardless of which spouse incurred the obligation. This statement remains true even if the debt is in your spouse’s name only. A thorough review of both spouses’ credit reports will help to ensure that there won’t be any surprises when it comes time to negotiate.


  1. Hill, Catey. “Divorce Over 50: 3 Mistakes to Avoid.” MarketWatch, 23 Mar. 2011, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/divorce-over-50-mistakes-to-avoid-1300832383830.
  2. Fredman, Catherine. “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Divorcing Over 50.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 22 May 2019, https://www.investopedia.com/personal-finance/mistakes-avoid-when-divorcing-over-50/.
  3. “Divorce Advice for Women Over 50: Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes.” Fashion, Hair, Makeup for Older Women, Senior Dating, Travel, 20 Jan. 2019, https://sixtyandme.com/divorce-advice-for-women-over-50-avoid-these-5-common-mistakes/.

See Also:

Collaborative Divorce is a Peaceful Divorce Option

Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. One of the legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.


The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With love and support, children can more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact one of the professionals at Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.