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Gray divorces have important financial implications

While divorces may be declining generally, the number of so-called gray divorces involving couples over 50 are rising. Divorce can have a significant impact at any age but can have a particularly significant impact on women divorcing over the age of 50. Women divorcing over the age of 50 may have remained out of the workforce and generally earn less than men even if working. They also have longer life spans so it is necessary to plan for their financial futures.

Though divorce can be an emotionally challenging time, it is important to remain focused on the future following divorce, and to keep the future in mind during the divorce process. Because divorce is a largely financial process, it is important to gather financial records, including tax returns, and be aware that while an attempt to hide assets should never be made during divorce, it sometimes happens that a spouse may try to hide assets. In high-asset divorce situations, it can be helpful to enlist a forensic accountant to evaluate finances and assets.

There are many important considerations to take into account during the property division process, especially when the couple is in the midst of a high asset divorce. Knowing what the couple has, and carefully documenting it, can help during the negotiation process. It can also be essential to be familiar with the work history of the other spouse because it may have important retirement implications. It is helpful to keep in mind that keeping assets such as a home or business may mean reduced cash flow and that tax implications for child support and spousal support differ. In addition, attention should also be paid to the names of beneficiaries on policies such as life insurance.

Overall, following the divorce process, each ex-spouse will often have twice the expenses that they are accustomed to because they no longer share a household and the related expenses. It is useful to enter the divorce process with a clear idea of financial needs and the implications of the important divorce-related decisions that have to be made.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Gray Divorce: What Women Who Divorce Later in Life Need to Know," Debbie Carlson, July 21, 2016

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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