Overall, the divorce rate has declined significantly since the 1990s. But the divorce rate remains high in other areas. The dissolution rate for second and subsequent marriages, which is still rather high, is a good example. The divorce rate among couples over 60, which has doubled since the 1990s, is an even better example. 

Lengthening life expectancy is one of the biggest reasons for the expansion. As the saying goes, 60 is the new 40, at least in many cases. Most individuals in their early 60s often live longer and much more active lives. And, twenty or thirty years is a long time to spend in an unsatisfying marriage.

All divorces have emotional and financial issues unless the marriage was extremely brief. These issues are much more pronounced after a very lengthy marriage. So, a Greenville divorce attorney needs a special skill set to deal with these cases.

Emotional Issues

Most couples in their 60s do not have young children at home. However, they often have adult children and grandchildren. Frequently, adult children have a harder time adjusting to divorce than younger children. Additionally, adult children often “blame” someone for the breakup of their parents’ marriage.

If the adult child retaliates by cutting off contact between the targeted grandparent and a grandchild, South Carolina’s grandparent visitation law could come into play. In 2014, some amendments took effect which made it easier for grandparents to overcome the parental presumption and obtain visitation rights. To obtain visitation rights, grandparents in South Carolina must show:

  • The grandchild’s parents or guardians unreasonably denied visitation for at least 90 days, and
  • Grandparent visitation would not disrupt the parent-child relationship.

The parental presumption allows parents to decide how and with whom their children should spend their time.

Financial Issues

Couples in their 60s often have a considerable amount of home equity and substantial retirement nest egg accounts. In most cases, these items are marital property subject to equitable division.

Generally, it’s best to sell the house and divide the proceeds. That way, everyone gets a clean break. However, in some cases, sell-and-divide is a bad idea. Perhaps the market is depressed or perhaps there are children still living at home.

An owelty lien is often the solution in these cases. One spouse receives title to the house, and the other received a lien for his or her share of the equity. When the owner sells the house, that lien must be paid.

Courts usually divide retirement accounts 50-50, unless there is compelling evidence in favor of unequal distribution. To hold onto more of the account, owners often arrange setoffs. For example, the Husband might agree to higher spousal maintenance payments in exchange for a larger share of the retirement account.

Grey divorces involve special issues. For a confidential consultation with an experienced Greenville, SC family law attorney, contact the Briggs Law Firm. After-hours visits are available.

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