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What role should alimony play in a late-life divorce?

According to researchers, more and more older Americans are deciding to move beyond an unsatisfying marriage by filing for divorce. For those Illinois spouses who are considering such a move, it's important to make wise decisions that are in line with one's long-term financial goals. That includes alimony, which can be something of a risk in later life. 

Spouses who are at or beyond retirement age face a unique set of financial challenges. Many are living on a fixed income, with little room for financial change. Others are still taking care of children or even grandchildren. Older people also face uncertainty regarding their future health or care needs, and how to fund the accompanying expenses. 

When negotiating a divorce, alimony might seem like an attractive option, especially for spouses who have been financially dependent throughout the marriage and have little hope of re-entering the workforce. However, it's important to think about long-term needs when discussing alimony. Spousal support payments only come in while the paying spouse is still living. 

For many Illinois spouses, negotiating a different division of assets might be a better approach than focusing on alimony. Accepting a larger share of a retirement account or other asset gives a spouse something that can be invested for the future, and that will endure. In fact, that wealth can even be handed down to the next generation if it is not needed to fund the recipient's retirement needs. Alimony, on the other hand, could vanish if one's former spouse passes away in the years following the divorce. 

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