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Handling property division between spouses over 50

Recent divorce trends offer a glimpse into the ever-changing structure of American society. While divorce was virtually unheard of in generations past, it has now become an accepted part of American society, and is rarely a surprise. Divorce rates are climbing among older California couples, as well, which necessitates a different approach when it comes to matters of property division.

Spouses who marry later in life often come into the marriage with their own mix of property and assets. They may have retirement savings earned through their employment, personal investments or money gained from a former divorce. There could also be inheritance money involved, as well as the need to protect those assets to ensure that existing children inherit those assets the parent intends to hand down.

When a couple divorces later in life, the process can be more complex than for a couple just starting out in life. In addition, the ramifications are of greater importance, as Americans over the age of 50 are nearing retirement age and simply have fewer years left to recover from a serious financial setback. This reality alters the divorce process for older spouses, and makes the negotiation process a top priority.

Statistics suggest that the trend toward increasing divorce rates will continue to rise. One study places the rate of divorce among second or third marriages between partners 50 or older at two-and-a-half times that of first marriages. In addition, it is estimated that one out of every four divorces are between spouses 50 or older. For older spouses in California who are considering divorce, proper property division planning is crucial to a financially secure future, and is of top concern.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "A 'gray divorce' boom," Susan L. Brown, March 31, 2013

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