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Divorce among retiring couples may be good news

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” -- or so the saying goes. It is certainly true that planning ahead becomes more important to people as they get older. In California and other areas, the number of couples who are choosing to divorce at a later stage of their life is on the increase.

Some people who think they are facing a comfortable retirement may discover that the prospect of freedom comes with great financial implications. At any point in a marriage, the decision to end the relationship can be overwhelming in many ways. Younger individuals who lose out financially may feel that at least they can start building their finances back up again. An older person may find that a more daunting and difficult prospect.

Considering such things when one is approaching, or has reached, the age of retirement, means that there could be more than a pension from one's current employer at stake. The division of marital assets may include items such as stock options and investments, while future entitlement to Social Security benefits may also be affected. There may also be pensions owed by former employers, such as the Military, which can come to quite sizable amounts. It is therefore worth one's while to look back through one's personal employment and financial history to check where he or she may be vulnerable.

As with any divorce in California, the key is for each party to ensure that they receive a fair and equitable settlement. Since this will be the only opportunity to negotiate the terms, it is better to take some time and be as thorough as possible. Appropriate advice and guidance may assist individuals -- not only financially, but it may also help them to consider the new direction in which they would like their life to proceed.

Source: The New York Times, "Retirement Plans Thrown Into Disarray by a Divorce", Constance Gustke, June 27, 2014

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