It is old news that those 50 and older are divorcing more than that age group ever has in the past. This trend of gray divorce often comes with unique and complicated factors, such as dividing retirement plans and other high assets, as well as establishing alimony for decades-long marriages. Most of the time, issues such as child custody are not relevant.
However, as more couples get married (or remarried) later in life and have children later in life, whether biological or adopted, there is a greater chance that minor children will be in the picture. If you are going through a gray divorce with minor children, you will have to consider the following:
You may think that longer-lasting marriages require litigation due to their complexity. However, mediation is just as viable an option for high-asset divorces, especially when young ones are in the picture. Mediation not only can speed up the process, but it can also reduce contention and improve communication, all of which benefit the children’s well-being.
College may be years away, but you should start thinking of how you want to divide payments for higher education. It is better for you two to decide on your own than to leave it up to a judge to determine later on.
After a divorce, it is always wise to revise your estate plan, and this is never more important than when young children are involved. Make sure you set up provisions for their financial and daily care in the event that both you and your ex become incapacitated. Remember that stepparents do not automatically receive parental rights to your children unless a stepparent adopts them.
Even if you have minors, you may also have adult children from past relationships or your earlier marital years. You may be so focused on the kids still at home that you forget that divorce can also affect adult children. They, too, may feel grief and confusion over the split and have a greater responsibility to care for their aging parents and minor siblings.