Divorce is difficult no matter what age you are, but late in life divorces (sometimes called “gray divorce”) can come with headaches that younger divorced couples typically don’t have to deal with. Older couples have accrued decades’ worth of assets including multiple properties, retirement funds, and investment accounts, and the division of these assets can undermine the economic stability of both parties. In many cases, individuals are forced to delay their retirement after going through a divorce. Since 1990 divorce at 50 and older has become much more common.
Researchers have posited that cultural shifts surrounding the stigma of divorce, growing emphasis on personal fulfillment, and lengthening life expectancies have each contributed to the higher late-in-life divorce rate. The rising female labor force is also cited as a factor, as women increasingly have the financial resources to live on their own.
Dealing With Divorce at 50
If you are 50 or older and going through a divorce, the things you need to think about and deal with are going to be much different than a younger married couple. There is typically more money and assets in play, making things much more stressful for both parties. If you want to avoid the expensive nature of litigation and the cost of retaining a lawyer, divorce mediation might be the best option.
Benefits of Mediation in a Gray Divorce
The divorce process can be complex and stressful, especially for older couples. However, litigation does not have to be the endpoint of the dissolution of a marriage. Many couples choose divorce mediation to cooperatively and amicably resolve their dispute and reach an agreement before the court gets involved. Through mediation services, both parties work with an impartial mediator to create a legally binding agreement based on both parties’ needs and desires. New Jersey divorce & separation mediator Steven B. Menack has decades of experience in making divorce mediation as stress-free as possible.
Learn more about dividing property and debt during divorce.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation in a Gray Divorce
There are several benefits of mediation services over a traditional divorce, including:
- Cost. Mediation costs much less than the traditional divorce process. Steven B. Menack charges no retainer fees.
- Time. While there is no rush and clients can go at their own pace, divorce mediation can be resolved in as little as 2 or 3 months, whereas traditional divorces can take over a year.
- Atmosphere. Hiring a neutral and experienced third party to mediate helps keep the deliberation calm and collected rather than hostile and adversarial, as can often happen while discussing a divorce settlement.
Learn more about the NJ divorce mediation process.
How Long Does a Mediated Divorce at 50 Take?
As we mentioned previously, one of the reasons couples choose to attend divorce mediation is to avoid the costly and time-consuming aspects that come with a traditional divorce. If mediation goes smoothly, you can finalize a divorce in a few months whereas a traditional divorce can go on for years.
Every divorce is different and the complexity and ability of both parties to negotiate are key factors in how long the process can take. In general mediation, cases take a month or two with several hours long sessions during that time. Longer mediation cases can take up to six months, but even in those cases the divorce can be settled in a fraction of the time it takes to go through traditional divorce proceedings.
Is a Lawyer Necessary For Divorce Mediation?
You don’t need an attorney in order to move forward with mediation, but it is encouraged that both parties obtain independent legal advice during the mediation process. Even though your mediator may be a lawyer, they can’t give legal advice while mediating a divorce.
Are Mediation Agreements Enforceable?
Once an agreement has been signed, that agreement is enforceable, however, usually a judgment based on the agreement is prepared and filed with the court, and is just as enforceable as any other divorce judgment.
Contact Steven B. Menack About Divorce Mediation at 50 or Older
Divorce mediation can be a positive and collaborative method of conflict resolution in the dissolution of marriage no matter what age you are. Mr. Menack is an experienced mediator that has helped over 5,000 clients over the last 25 years. Contact us today in order to find out more about our mediation services.