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Reverse mortgages for older divorcees

While the overall rate of divorce is declining, it is on the rise among older married couples. Women who have been married for a long time often are confronted with different financial concerns than those faced by younger individuals.

A family law court may ultimately decide how a couple will divide assets and property once a divorce is finalized. Older women who are struggling to determine how they will pay off their bills as a sole earner or as a retiree may want to consider keeping their existing home as a means of providing additional funds.

Homeowners of at least 62 years of age have the option of taking out a reverse mortgage on their homes. A reverse mortgage is a loan that is taken out against the equity in the home. The funds can be made available in monthly payments, a lump sum, or as a ready line of credit. Principal and interest comes due upon the death of the homeowner, the sale of the house, or a delinquency in tax or insurance payments.

Taking out a reverse mortgage may forestall the need to rely on Social Security payments, which means that eventual monthly paychecks from Social Security will be larger. Wage earning women may also avoid making early taxable withdrawals from their employment retirement funds. The device may also be helpful in situations where a woman would otherwise have to liquidate temporarily undervalued assets.

Divorce can cause financial and emotional consequences. A person contemplating a divorce may wish to speak with an attorney that has experience in family law matters. The attorney may be able to provide advice on such matters as spousal support and property division.

Source: Forbes, "How reverse mortgages can benefit older divorcing women", Jeff Landers, September 24, 2013

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