Centuori & Associates, PC

Divorce happens at any age. But if you're over 50 when you decide to split, you may reasonably worry how the change will affect your ability to retire. There are ways to protect your assets when going through a "gray divorce" so you will still be able to enjoy your retirement and thrive in the future.

Gray divorce rates on the rise

From 1990 to 2010, the divorce rate for older adults doubled, according to a recent study. Now, 25 percent of divorces include an adult over 50. Factors contributing to gray divorce rates include:

  • Higher rates of remarriage (which are likelier to fail)
  • Change in expectations regarding marriage roles
  • More women in the workforce and ability to live on their own income
  • People are living longer

Couples divorcing after age 50 face all the same problems of younger couples divorcing. However, older adults have fewer years left to recoup income losses. They may have accrued more marital assets, especially significant assets such as homes, boats, and stocks and bonds.

How to protect your assets

Negotiating an asset split is difficult, but especially when shared belongings are expensive. For this reason, many gray divorces include a financial management team to value the worth of retirement accounts, and assets. A financial advisor helps you obtain an accurate valuation for all assets. During divorce, emotions often run high so it's important to have an independent third party involved with financial negotiations.

You may wish to sell the marital home and downsize, to economize or simply make a fresh start without painful memories of the past. Your attorney and financial advisor can help you budget for the future so you have enough money to support your lifestyle.

If minor or adult children are involved, they further complicate the separation. Parents must discuss issues of custody and support for minor children. A separation can also impact plans you'd made to pay for a child's education or marriage, take care of grandchildren, or otherwise support your adult children. If you need to return to work part-time after a divorce, you can no longer babysit your grandchild every day, for example.

When possible, work these issues out amicably. Especially if grandchildren are present, you will still interact with your ex spouse. It's easier on all parties when things can be pleasant.

Once you know you will divorce, it is best to work with an attorney and financial advisor so you have allies in your corner and can protect your best interests through the divorce.

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