Joseph Greenwald & Laake principal attorney Jeffrey Greenblatt was quoted several times by Super Lawyers magazine in a story surrounding divorce after the age of 50, otherwise known as “gray divorce.” Greenblatt said that many factors have contributed to an increase in these gray divorces, including a decrease in social stigma toward divorce and an increase in women between the ages of 55 and 64 working.
According to Greenblatt, another factor is related to an increase in life expectancy – after retirement, a person’s longevity is around 20 years, he said.
“For someone who’s been unhappy for a very long time, the kids are now out of the house, they’re thinking, ‘I’m going to be around for a number of years, and I don’t want it to be with this person,’” he said.
Greenblatt said that because the couple is older, a gray divorce may bring more complicated problems than for younger couples. Part of this includes a disrupted retirement plan, and Greenblatt said that divorce attorneys need to look carefully at dividing a pension.
“In Maryland, pensions are normally divided equally between the parties if they accumulated during the marriage,” Greenblatt said. “It’s also important to be sure there is a survivor benefit. This needs to be arranged at the time of the divorce; if you don’t, you’re out of luck.”
Another consideration, according to Greenblatt, is spousal support, of which there are two kinds: rehabilitative and indefinite. Indefinite alimony is awarded in Maryland if the standards of living between the divorcing couple are “unconscionably disparate” – however, this phrase has sparked much debate, said Greenblatt.
“What it means has been subject to years and years of appellate cases,” Greenblatt said. “The award of alimony is not a sure thing—that’s part of what a skilled lawyer would help with.”
Greenblatt also advised those going through a gray divorce to consider long-term interests, as opposed to solely the short-term interest of getting free of the marriage.
“You should let your lawyer do his or her job protecting your interest,” says Greenblatt. “If you don’t, ultimately, yes, you’ve gotten rid of the stress of the marriage—but now you can’t live. Twenty-seven percent of women who go through gray divorce live below the poverty line.”
He also spoke about taking adult children into consideration, as well as reviewing estate planning documents, such as a will or life insurance.
Jeffrey Greenblatt has over 43 years of experience representing individuals in complex, emotionally-charged family law matters in Maryland. He has a strong emphasis in areas such as divorce, alimony, child custody and protective orders, and is a compassionate advocate for each one of his clients. He is also a pioneer in the emerging area of family law, Gray Divorce, or the divorce of couples over 50 years old.
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