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How Does a Divorce Work During Retirement?

By September 19, 2021September 20th, 2021No Comments

Divorce post-retirement is more common than you’d think, but decades of wealth, Social Security, and other issues can complicate an amicable and quick breakup. This post explains more about what to expect in a divorce between older couples potentially.

Ohio Divorces for Older Couples

Divorce rules in Ohio don’t differ based on the age of the spouses, but it’s important to know that the state recognizes legal separations, dissolutions, and traditional divorces. If the spouses can’t figure it out on their own, it will be the court’s job to determine which property is marital and which is separate.

For grandchildren and great-grandchildren visitation, the courts largely stay out of those conversations as it is up to each child’s custodial parent(s) to make those decisions.

Working Through Big Assets and Wealth

Older couples tend to have more resources and assets, leading to contentious negotiations during the divorce. It’s important to keep documentation of what’s separate and what was used during the marriage to help reach some form of equitable distribution. This can extend to investment accounts, liquidity, real estate, and more.

Social Security Issues Within Divorce

Social Security is a significant source of retirement income for many, so it’s important to understand any potential impact. In general, a spouse will be eligible for as much as half of their former spouse’s Social Security benefit, as long as they were married for at least ten years and are currently unmarried if that amount is higher than the benefit based on their own earnings. Spousal payments are reduced if the beneficiary starts collecting benefits before their full retirement age. This gets complicated, so it’s important to check with your local Social Security office.

Pensions, Military Benefits, and More

Obtain a copy of the latest pension statement and the rules and regulations for the plan. (If one spouse is entitled to benefits, a lawyer or mediator may need to step in to ensure that the guidelines are followed.)

Alimony Does Exist in Older Relationships

Even if both parties are retired, one spouse may be entitled to alimony (spousal support) if there is a disparity in their retirement earnings or other income.

Dividing Up the House

If one spouse is keeping the house, then that person will likely keep most of the furnishings. Unless there are specific, valuable assets set aside, most descendants don’t want to deal with a house full of random items and collections from over the years.


Older couples deserve just as much attention and care throughout the divorce process. The team at Garretson & Holcomb, LLC understands this and are leaders in Warren and Butler Counties. Call (513) 863-6600 today to learn more.

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