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Law Office of Gary R. Swavely, Jr. Blog

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

After 45 years, Rendells to divorce

Are there special considerations to keep in mind for divorce for “gray divorces”?

Former governor and mayor Ed Rendell recently announced that he and his wife, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Marjorie Rendell are filing for divorce. The Rendells, who have been separated since 2011, have been married for 45 years.

The two maintain that their split is amicable and that they remain on good terms, as evidenced by their ongoing professional relationship managing the Rendell Center, as well as attending a family trip together to Jamaica.

How Common Are “Gray Divorces”?

While not as highly publicized as the Rendell divorce, divorce rates of couples in their senior years has actually doubled between 1990 and 2010.  According to a study by Bowling Green State University, 48% of divorcing seniors are only on their first marriage.

What You Need to Know About Gray Divorces

Divorce can be a truly traumatic experience, or it can be a liberating, albeit bittersweet, experience. Understanding what to look out for in the beginning of the process can be empowering, or at least alleviate some anxiety that you may be feeling at this time.

  • Spousal Support is commonly granted.  For long-term couples, the lower-earning spouses are commonly awarded life-long spousal support.
  • Retirement Reduction. Courts require that assets be split equitably. This includes retirement benefits. Be prepared to part with part of it.
  • Equitable Distribution Doesn’t Mean Equal.  If you want to keep the marital home, you will likely be giving up something else, such as full spousal support or more smaller-value items.

Medicare and tax obligations may be implicated in any divorce settlement, so be sure to speak with a family law attorney experienced in senior divorce, as well as a tax advisor.

Planning for Future Marriages

Just because you are divorcing late in life does not mean you will never find love again. When love comes around again, it is highly advisable to consider a prenuptial agreement before you take your vows. Second marriages are statistically more likely to end in divorce than first marriages, and without a prenuptial agreement in place, assets that are already reduced, such as retirement benefits, can end up reduced again.

Considering Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, regardless of your stage in life, do yourself and your spouse a favor and talk to an experienced divorce attorney. Mr. Swavely has over 25 years of experience managing all types of family law issues including divorce, property division, spousal support and pre-nuptial agreements. Request a consultation or call today at (610) 816-6366.


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