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Orange County Divorce Lawyers for Seniors and Elders

If you are considering a divorce or have a need to consult with a divorce attorney in Orange County and are an elder, you should spend the appropriate time to identify the ‘right’ lawyer for you and your circumstances. As you know, at this point in your life, there is significant value in working with experienced and established professionals in all fields, including family law matters.

The 19 divorce lawyers at Minyard Morris have combined experience of almost 300 years, limit their practice to family law and family law matters that are filed in Orange County. Many people ask how we have grown into the largest Orange County, exclusively family law firm. There are many reasons but certainly the results achieved for our clients and our best-of-class client service have contributed to our success and growth.

Challenges and Considerations of Senior Divorces

Divorce among senior citizens in Orange County, California, presents unique challenges and considerations that differ markedly from those faced by younger couples. As the demographics of this affluent area continue to age, the phenomena of “gray divorce” is becoming increasingly common, requiring specialized legal and emotional support structures.

Retirement plans may be in pay status. Income from employment may be ending or decreasing. The parties may be contemplating the sale of a business or downsizing their lifestyle.  Different and nuanced issues may exist when elders are divorcing a spouse of a similar age as opposed to a spouse who is either substantially older or younger.

Unique Financial and Emotional Challenges

For seniors, the decision to divorce often comes after decades of marriage, which means the financial and emotional stakes are high. Issues such as division of retirement plans, allocation of Social Security benefits, and the management of health care needs take on heightened importance. Unlike younger divorcing couples, seniors may find that their income potential is decreasing rather than increasing, which can complicate settlements and support arrangements.

  1. Retirement and Income: In Orange County, many seniors contemplating divorce must consider how it will affect their retirement plans. For those already in retirement, the division of assets like pensions and retirement accounts requires careful planning
  2. Health Care Considerations: Health care is another critical factor. Divorce can affect eligibility for benefits under a spouse’s health care plan.
  3. Social Security Benefits: Understanding how divorce impacts Social Security benefits is also crucial. While a spouse may be entitled to derivative benefits, these do not decrease the primary earner’s benefits. However, these payments can be considered when calculating spousal support.

Legal Expertise and Support

Given the complexities involved, choosing the right legal representation is crucial. Minyard Morris has extensive experience in family law and a deep understanding of the specific challenges faced by elder clients. Minyard Morris is equipped to handle the nuanced needs of senior divorces, from detailed asset division to negotiating spousal support that reflects a client’s stage in life.

  1. Experience Matters: In a landscape populated by various legal firms, seniors should seek out those with specific experience in elder divorce. Firms with a long history and a focused practice can offer the nuanced guidance that elder divorcees require.
  2. Alternative Dispute Resolution: For seniors looking to avoid the emotional and financial costs of traditional litigation, mediation offers a viable alternative. This process can help ex-spouses achieve a fair settlement more amicably and can be particularly beneficial in preserving family dynamics and minimizing stress.

Community and Emotional Support

Divorce at any age can be emotionally draining. For seniors, losing a long-term partner through divorce can feel like bereavement. Apart from legal assistance, emotional and psychological support through counselors or support groups is also essential. Community centers in Orange County often offer programs tailored to the needs of seniors going through life transitions, including divorce.

Frequently Asked Questions About Senior Divorces:

Orange County elders considering a divorce have some unique questions on issues that they may face in a family law matter, including the following:

Will my spouse be awarded half of my social security payments?

No. In certain situations a spouse is entitled to his/her own derivative benefits paid directly from the Social Security Administration to the spouse. These payments do not decrease the payments of the working spouse. However, social security payments may be a source of money from which spousal support may be paid. These payments are considered income available for the payment of support.

Does spousal support automatically end at a support payor’s age 65?

No. Spousal support is based on income, not age.

Can a person be forced to work to earn an income to pay spousal support after age 65?

No. A court will not impute income to a spousal payor after the age of 65.

Does spousal support end at retirement?

Spousal Support is based on income from all sources – not just income earned from employment. If a retired spousal support payor has income from investments and a retirement plan that approximates the income earned at the time the spousal support order was made, it is likely that the amount of spousal support would not decrease.

If parties do not have sufficient funds to hire lawyers what are their options?

Parties often represent themselves. Mediation can be a cost-effective option. The Lawyer Referral Service of the Orange County Bar Association may be able to refer a party to a lower cost lawyer. Sole practitioners and smaller law firms generally bill the same hourly rate to all clients whether the issue is less complicated or extremely complex.

At Minyard Morris, we match the complexity of the case with a lawyer who bills at a rate that matches the complexity of the case and the client’s objectives. Our rates range from $375 per hour to $800 per hour.

Call Our Experienced Orange County Elder/Senior Divorce Attorneys

As divorce becomes more common among seniors in Orange County, the demand for specialized legal and emotional support services will continue to grow. Understanding the unique challenges faced by this demographic is crucial for those providing these services and for seniors themselves as they navigate this difficult transition. With the right support, seniors can manage the complexities of divorce and move forward into this new phase of life with confidence and security.

For more information about senior or elder divorce matters, call us at 949-724-1111 or send us an email inquiry to schedule a consultation.