What should older couples keep in mind during a divorce? – II

Last week, our blog discussed how the dynamics of divorce are changing thanks to the advent of so-called “gray divorces.” Indeed, a study by researchers at Bowling Green University found that the divorce rate among people age 50 and over doubled between 1990 and 2010.

We also discussed that when these older couples decide to end their marriages after several decades, they must leave with satisfactory settlements given that there is that much less time to recover from any financial errors.

Are there any steps a person can take prior to the divorce negotiations to help things proceed more smoothly?

Experts indicate that a person should strongly consider sitting down with their attorney and/or financial advisor to closely examine the entirety of their assets, the majority of which will be treated as marital property by the courts.

Here, the purpose is not only to ensure that everything is properly accounted for, but also to discuss goals for property division and clarify any misconceptions.

For instance, while a person may be set on keeping the marital home, these professionals can explain why perhaps this might not be the best course of action. Similarly, they can outline how the process of dividing retirement accounts should proceed and provide instruction on the need to make beneficiary changes once the divorce is finalized.

Is there anything else a person can do prior to the divorce negotiations?

Yes, experts also advise older people seeking a divorce to discuss not only their assets, but also their debts with their attorney and/or financial advisor prior to the commencement of divorce negotiations.

This strategy, say experts, rounds out the process of understanding everything that must be resolved during the upcoming discussions.

For example, if you live in a non-community property state like Maryland, joint loan and jointly held credit card balances must be addressed.

To learn more about the unique issues concerning gray divorce, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional who can answer your questions, explain the law and guide you through the entire process.

Source: USA Today, “Protect finances in later-in-life divorce,” Anna Helhoski, Nov. 23, 2014

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