A fascinating column published recently on the Reuter News Agency’s “Prism Money” blog examined issues we sometimes do not think about when contemplating Orange County divorce. In the popular imagination, break-ups are the province of couples married for two, five, 10 or 12 years. Of course, we all know this is not true. An Orange County divorce attorney sees clients in every conceivable stage of a marriage, and most of us know of at least one couple married for decades who decide to call it quits at a time when others are picking out retirement properties (Al and Tipper Gore, for example).
As the Reuters piece highlights, the issues faced by a couple who have been married for decades are often fundamentally different from those where both spouses are in the prime of their working lives.
According to the article, more older couples are signing settlements that forego alimony or spousal support in favor of a single division of assets, generally including a lump sum payment. Some women, the author notes, are “foregoing alimony in order to front-load money in case their ex-spouse can’t come up with the payments down the line.” It is an interesting concept – though, as the article notes, one fraught with potential pitfalls that make it something one should not venture into lightly. It is also worth mentioning that while the article offers some fascinating stories it does not back them up with any hard data.
The article also notes that what it calls “the non-alimony route” remains unusual here in California. It is also worth remembering, of course, that either party to a California divorce can go back to court at a later date to argue for a modification based on changed circumstances.
Not surprisingly, the bottom line is that every divorce is different. Here in Orange County it is important to have an attorney on your side whose local knowledge can provide you with an edge when negotiating the terms of your Southern California divorce. For older divorcees, those who will be living directly off the terms of their settlement now or in the immediate future, such assistance can be even more important if the goal is to achieve a resolution that is both fair and livable.