Divorce Over Age 50
“Not knowing the first thing about hiring an attorney for an unexpected personal situation, a friend referred me to William Conners. From the very beginning, I felt very confident he would make sure that all negotiations and decisions made would benefit me and my daughter. Will has been very professional and caring and I cannot thank him enough.”A. S.
” William Conners represented me in my divorce which was complicated by the fact that my ex-wife and I owned several successful businesses together. I have used many attorneys in the past. Will’s performance was exemplary and many, many steps ahead in legal skill, strategy, preparation and sophistication. My goals were more than met (and then some) and I ended up with the businesses! I can wholeheartedly recommend him.”D.R.
“I was mired in a contentious divorce that had spiraled out of control through nightmarish claims that were chilling in their seriousness. While struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil of a marriage that was over, I was facing bleak options that realistically included losing my job, my children, and even my freedom. Through Mr. Conners’ skilled counsel I came through the nightmare with my family and my future intact – defeating the false charges, successfully resolving the marital dispute, and keeping custody of my children. I have no doubt that without his expert handling of my case things would have turned out very differently indeed, and for that I am forever grateful. Thank you for giving me back my future!”D. G.
“A few of the initial things that impressed me about Will and his staff were their accessibility, promptness in responding to my requests and thorough explanation of the answers to my questions. I appreciated Will’s approach to giving me options and recommendations, and then he let me have a say in the decisions regarding the direction of my divorce case. Throughout the process, Will’s priorities remained focused on preparing my case to win in court if a fair settlement could not be reached and minimizing financial consequences without expensive legal posturing. He was my expert legal counsel and a part-time coach that knew how to motivate me and help me get through it. Will and his staff genuinely cared about the emotional and financial toll that the divorce was exacting on me. Without hesitation, I recommend William Conners for his expertise in Family Law matters and his compassion for the person he represents.”C.K.
“My divorce featured all the most difficult aspects including a vindictive spouse willing to do and say anything to destroy me and exclude my role in our children’s lives. No matter how difficult the situation though, Will Conners provided devoted and professional representation. He took the time and interest to understand my dynamic and craft a strategy that unveiled my spouses’ false vendetta, preserved the relationship between me and my children and protected my financial interests. I count myself fortunate to have had Will as my attorney and wholeheartedly recommend him.”P.B.
“I came to see William R.F. Conners for a divorce and to work out custody issues for my 5 year old son. I was very impressed with my first and subsequent visits to see Mr. Conners. I always felt that kindness was a given, my case was given the attention and professionalism it deserved, with particular emphasis on the welfare of my son and the staff was always courteous and helpful. Mr. Conners worked very hard on my case and always returned my calls in a timely manner. I highly recommend William R.F. Conners to anyone who needs a lawyer who makes you feel like your case is the most important one that he has.”C.O.
“As a commercial airplane pilot, a clean driving record is essential to my career. When I was charged by a Virginia state trooper with misdemeanor Reckless Driving by speed on radar (90 mph in a 55 mph zone), I was facing potential jail time, huge fines and a suspension of my privilege to drive. If convicted, I would have had to report the conviction to the FAA and faced potential suspension of my pilot’s license. The stakes were high and I turned to Attorney William Conners for help. Attorney Conners used his knowledge of traffic law and regulations to fight for me at trial and we won with the charge being totally DISMISSED without my even having to testify! If you need legal representation for a serious traffic charge, call Attorney Conners and experience what it really means to have someone on your side.”L.A.
“Charged with a clear “no win” 3rd Felony DUI, I was facing a dark future. I was destined to be a felon with no right to drive for 10 years and a jail sentence of 6 months to 5 years! Add my life threatening health problems and the situation could not have been worse. However, my prayers were answered and Attorney Will Conners succeeded in getting the charge greatly reduced with minimal consequences. I served less than 1 day in jail after my court hearing which I consider a miracle. I am so grateful for Will’s intelligence, loyalty and kindness. He made a profound difference in my life and I will never forget what he did to help me.”S.A.
“I am extremely pleased that I chose William R. F. Conners as my attorney for my criminal case. After interviewing several Loudoun County attorneys, I found Mr. Conner’s fee to be by far the best, his personality to be friendly, and his accessibility to be superior. Most of all, Mr. Conners went above and beyond what I expected by putting in numerous unexpected hours and doing an astounding job arguing against the prosecutor. As a result of his hard work and courtroom savvy, my charge was reduced beyond what was expected. I highly recommend William Conners for any of your legal needs.”C. P.
“After I was involved in a terrible car accident, I had no idea what to do. How do I handle the insurance questions, medical bills, lost time from work? Knowing I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, take this task on myself, I found Mr. Conners law firm thru an internet search. Shortly after completing the on line questionnaire from his website, I received a phone call from Mr. Conners. He was very polite, offered to meet and discuss my case. At the first meeting he made me feel comfortable. Will was always very prompt to answer any questions I had, both email and when I called the office; we even talked on the weekends. I had total faith that he had my best interest in making decisions and recommendations needed to resolve my case. I would recommend his services to any of my friends and family. “T.M.
“As recent immigrants to the U.S. we have been completely unprepared for dealing with the consequences of obvious negligence my wife encountered during one fateful visit to her new OB/GYN doctor. It was only due to the timely interference of more competent physicians and sheer luck we have been able to avoid permanent damage to her health. On our friends’ recommendation we asked the “Law Office of William R. F. Conners, P.C” to take up our personal injury suit, and through all the stages the firm provided us with the top-rate legal advice. In the end it was solely thanks to their persistence and professionalism that we have been able to arrive to a mutually acceptable settlement of our case. Our special kudos go to Mr. William Conners for his sharp legal acumen and personal dedication.”A.C. & I.C.
“The injuries I suffered in a car crash were severe and permanent. The extent to which Will prepared my case was extraordinary. Will Conners is the lawyer to call if you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision and suffered personal injury.”W.E.
“How do you thank someone who took a very frustrating situation and turned it into success! Even after being threatened with a “Contempt of Court” citation my ex-husband stopped support payments. I was told I could garnish his social security payments but that led to one phone call after another to government offices and no solution. I finally found Will and he told me to stop worrying that he would take care of everything. He did just that by following through and taking my ex to court. After back-and-forth coversations I received all of my past due support payments plus attorney’s fees and court costs without going before a judge. There aren’t enough thanks or praise for such a dedicated and caring attorney.”D.R.
“Will handled my family law case in the 2009-2011 time frame, and was instrumental in helping me achieve a desired result – and avoiding costly litigation. He was very familiar with law specifically applicable to my case, and was highly familiar with the opposing counsels tactics & tendencies. Will managed my case efficieintly and also helped me to do much of my own documentation (hence saving costs). I would be happy to recommend him in the area of family law. He’s a highly ethical counselor, with excellent knowledge of applicable law to divorce cases, and provided me good guidance on my case. Highly recommend.”J. C.
“Nowadays, it is somewhat of a challenge to go through life without the need of an attorney. Should the need arise for a competent attorney to handle one’s legal affairs, I strongly recommend Will Conners. Will has handled a few of our family cases, including personal injury, family law and business transactions. His competency level in handling our cases was above and beyond any other attorney’s I have seen. Will has an extremely keen eye for details and always puts the client’s interest on a priority level. In a nutshell, Will is THE attorney our family turns to when any need arises for legal advice or representation. I would highly recommend Will. In my humble opinion, he is the best!”A. H.
“I hired Will to represent me in a difficult divorce case. He did an absolute excellent job making sure my interests were looked after. It was a difficult time for me with an wife that had some personal issues. In the end Will made sure I did what needed to be done to protect myself but showed compassion for the woman I was divorcing without ever sacrificing my personal interests. I would employ his services again for any legal issues, which I hope there will be none, in a heartbeat!!! Rating would be 4.5 “K.A.
“Attorney Will Connors helped me in filing an accident lawsuit against a drunk driver. Although it took a while for Will and his staff to reach the settlement which I desired, they were with me and my case every step of the way, keeping me fully informed and in the loop on every step of the process. They were most professional in every way, and I am one hundred percent pleased at having chosen Will to be my attorney on this issue. I would recommend Will and his firm without reservation.”T.P.
“ Will has been a pleasure to work with during a difficult child custody battle. He has been almost always available, always on top of circumstances, provided very good counsel, quickly assimilated my issues without excessive dialogue and exhibited great flexibility under changing circumstances. While legal services don’t come cheap, his ability to quickly comprehend my issues probably netted a savings.”J.A.
“Will Conners has been my lawyer for several years and has guided me through some difficult family law situations that occurred as a result of a divorce. His patience and ability to schedule and meet appointments and court appearances have been amazing. He was even able to formulate a plan to handle the final details of my case which is proving to be the best course of action. He has always been there for me when I needed him.”D.A.
- I hired Will to represent me in an arduous divorce case knotted with a complicated financial scenario, and troublesome spousal support battle. Will and his staff’s unending commitment, and patience quickly sorted through my retired military and executive careers, disabled veteran entitlements, and the best interest of the children amidst an emotionally overbearing ex-spouse. My case rapidly spiraled from separation to divorce in under one year. His steadfast professionalism and goodness guided me through a toxic situation that protects both my finances and the children. I can’t thank Will and his staff enough.
Notice: The client quotations above are not to be construed to guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by any attorney of the Law Office of William R.F. Conners, P.C. Each case result depends upon a variety of factors unique to each case and client.
Divorce over age 50 is relatively common. According to the Census Bureau, over 15% of adults over 50 are divorced and another 2% are separated from their spouses. Divorce can often be an inevitable result with children gone, ample financial resources available to live separately, and the impact of years of emotional distance. 50 is the new 40 and many understand that the best of life is often yet to be. However, divorce under even the best of circumstances can be a stressful and anxious time without the proper preparation and knowledge.
The following are some issues typically considered in over age 50 divorces:
Division of Non-Retirement Assets and Debts:
After a long marriage, divorcing parties often have substantial assets and debts to divide. That division in divorce (called “equitable distribution” when done by the Court) can be complicated due to the differing asset types accrued after a long marriage and fact that often one spouse may hold much greater assets than the other. In some cases one party has always been responsible for paying the bills and keeping track of finances, while the other might be less aware of exactly how much is owned and owed. Even prior to meeting with an attorney, an inventory of the type, value and location of each asset held solely or jointly by you and/or your spouse should occur. Make sure to contemplate the value of each particular asset on the date of marriage, on the date of separation (if applicable) and currently. Also, the manner in which assets were accrued must be evaluated i.e. did they arise from the contribution of separate property such as an inheritance, gift or pre-marital acquisition or were they accrued solely from income of the marriage? Information of when an asset was acquired and from what source is crucial as while assets accrued from the date of marriage to date of separation may be considered “marital property” (to be divided between the parties), pre-date of marriage and post-date of separation assets are generally considered the “separate property” of the account holding spouse so long as certain requirements are met. As with assets, debts must be analyzed in order to properly classify and evaluate them.
An analysis must be undertaken for any debts such as credit card balances, mortgages, liens or other types of obligations. As with the assets, you will want to be informed as to how those debts were established i.e. did they arise prior to the date of marriage and/or date of separation or were they accrued afterwards? Debts incurred from the date of marriage to date of separation may be considered marital debts to be divided between the parties. Pre-date of marriage and post-date of separation debts are generally considered the debts of the incurring spouse so long as certain requirements are met. However, debts incurred after the date of separation (consolidation of marital credit card debt for instance) can be divided as marital debts. Being prepared prior to meeting with an attorney will help you makes the best use of time with that attorney and diminish feelings of being overwhelmed and/or unprepared.
For more information on property division in Virginia divorces, read further: Property Distribution in Virginia
Division of Retirement Assets:
Like the non-retirement assets and debts discussed above, division of retirement assets is a major focus of equitable distribution for individuals over 50. One spouse may “hold” and/or have earned the retirement a particular retirement asset. However, the asset (whether it be a 401k, IRA, Pension, or other differed compensation plan, etc.) is subject to equitable distribution and the “non-owning and/or non-earning” spouse is likely to be awarded a portion of the retirement assets by the Court (up to 50% of the marital share but no greater than 50%). Analysis must be undertaken to determine if the funds were contributed and/or accrued prior to the date of marriage and/or after the date of separation?
That information is crucial as while date of marriage to date of separation contributions and accruals may be considered as a marital property to be divided between the parties, pre-date of marriage and post-date of separation contributions and accruals are generally considered “separate property” of the account holding spouse. Most of the time, such divisions, whether through equitable distribution or by agreement of the parties, can be structured to occur with no adverse tax consequences so long as same is incident to divorce and the asset is not liquidated. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or Court Order Acceptable for Processing or Letter of Instruction which enables the agreed upon (In the case of a settlement) or awarded (in the case of a Court decision) transfer the portion of the assets.
For more information on property division in Virginia divorces, read further: Property Distribution in Virginia
Duration of Alimony and Spousal Support Obligation:
The area of spousal support is particularly sensitive when divorcing over 50. Careful attention must be paid not only to the amount of spousal support proposed but also to the duration of support given that the payor spouse is typically foreseeing retirement in the near future. Unlike younger couple’s divorce, where spousal support payments are often awarded for a finite period of time, a long term marriage may result in support of a “permanent” nature. Both are possibilities, but will depend on a variety of factors related to your marriage including, financial resources, standard of living and individual circumstances. However, the two greatest overriding drivers of spousal support are 1) Need of the payee spouse and 2) Ability to pay of the payor spouse. Negotiation with the assistance of a skilled attorney is absolutely essential given the highly technical and fact intensive nature of spousal support determinations.
For more information on spousal support, read further: Spousal Support
Health and Medical Considerations:
If a spouse is covered on the other spouse’s insurance policy, the covered spouse may need to obtain their own health insurance coverage post-divorce. It is often expensive and difficult for people over 50 to get coverage due to advanced age and pre-existing medical conditions (although rapidly developing federal and state laws are impacting this area). However, advance planning for is necessary as it may take months to research and apply for an insurance policy. Consider plan options that are non-cancelable, with guaranteed renewable coverage when possible. Medicare eligibility begins at age 65 but does not cover all costs. A separate policy is still necessary. For more information on Medicare see http://www.socialsecurity.gov/mediinfo.htm. Medicaid may also be available as you age but is limited. For more information on Medicaid see http://www.dmas.virginia.gov. In divorce negotiations a party may seek, or agree, to keep the uninsured spouse on his or her insurance plan until the divorce is final.
After divorce, with exception, the covered spouse will no longer qualify to remain on the former spouse’s policy. Such exception include remaining insured on the plan through COBRA for up to 36 months after the divorce. When the 36 month period has elapsed, some plans will give the non-covered spouse “conversion coverage,” which allows you to convert from a group to an individual policy without being denied due to a pre-existing medical condition. Other individuals with pre-existing conditions may be eligible for coverage under “HIPAA” (see www.hhs.gov/ocr/hipaa/ for more information). Oftentimes, the former spouse of a federal civil servant may be entitled to continue the coverage they had while married even after divorce at a great cost savings as compared to private policies. However, strict rules exist as to eligibility and election for such coverage by policy deadlines.
Estate Planning & Beneficiary Designations:
When divorce is imminent, you will need to revisit your estate plan and other arrangements for the event of your incapacity or death. This includes documents such as your Last Will and Testament, any powers of attorney designations for beneficiaries regarding bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other financial accounts. Arrangements made during your marriage probably do not reflect your current desires. Importantly, a divorce does not serve to revoke all the beneficiary designation made in marriage. In fact the opposite is often the case. Cases exist where a former spouse of many years prior ended up with a 401k simply because the account holder did not take the steps required to revise beneficiary designations post-divorce. The issue is of such weight that the following Notice, which is required to be included in all Final Orders of Divorce, has been codified into Virginia law:
“Beneficiary designations for any death benefit, as defined in subsection B of § 20- 111.1 of the Code of Virginia, made payable to a former spouse may or may not be automatically revoked by operation of law upon the entry of a final decree of annulment or divorce. If a party intends to revoke any beneficiary designation made payable to a former spouse following the annulment or divorce, the party is responsible for following any and all instructions to change such beneficiary designation given by the provider of the death benefit. Otherwise, existing beneficiary designations may remain in full force and effect after the entry of a final decree of annulment or divorce.”
As the above Notice makes clear, a divorced party is well advised to take stock of their beneficiary designations and make immediate revision of their designations to ensure that that party’s wishes are fulfilled in the event of their death post separation. Please remember that all situations are different. The above is merely a brief overview of some aspects of a divorce for those who may be over age 50. However, the issues raised above may not apply to all situations and/or may not be comprehensive. At the Law Office of William R.F. Conners, P.C, our experienced attorneys can discuss with your individual needs related to your pending divorce. Contact our office to arrange a domestic relations consultation so that you can become fully informed as to your rights and obligation.