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Baby boomer divorce can involve more difficult property division

Perhaps it won't come as a surprise here in California that as baby boomers, one of the largest subgroups of the U.S. population, start to retire, the number of divorces for people over 50 is on the rise. A generation that dramatically changed many aspects of American culture may now be changing how people in this country retire now and in the future.

According to a poll from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers over 60 percent of the group's members have seen an increase in divorces of people over 50. Even while the national divorce rate has dropped, the divorce rate for baby boomers has close to doubled in recent years. In part, this trend is a result of divorce losing its negative stigma and there being less impact on the retiring California couple's children.

The trend is known as gray divorce for those individuals that end a marriage after the age of 50. Such a divorce can be more financially burdensome than divorcing at a younger age because of the amount of accumulated assets as well as the type of assets. Specifically, retiring baby boomers start to rely on social security benefits and retirement funds accrued during a lifetime. These additional issues can make the property division process challenging during divorce.

In California as well as most states, marital property consists of all income and assets acquired by either spouse during a marriage and includes pension plans, 401Ks, IRAs, retirement plans, deferred compensation and other saving mechanisms. Sorting through these before finalizing a divorce is essential and may require the assistance of an experienced attorney. Although in previous generations aging couples may have stayed together, the baby boomers are once again proving to be charting their own course - this time in the family law arena.

Source: Huffington Post, "Gray divorce is on the rise, according to new data," June 12, 2013

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