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Potential pitfalls for divorce over 50

Studies show that one in four couples will end their marriage after the age of 50. Compare that to twenty years ago when one in 10 couples with a spouse over the age of 50 divorced. Some experts agree that with the surge in late-in-life break-ups, so-called gray divorces have become like an epidemic. In California, people are living longer and have more opportunities to grow apart. Studies show that social customs have changed, and there are fewer stigmas about divorce and living life as a single person. 

Divorce can sometimes be financially devastating and may shatter retirement dreams. Older people nearing the end of peak earning years will have less chance to make up for financial shortfalls. This is especially true of women who may find that they will live longer with a lot less income.

Taking a full inventory of all assets will provide a better picture of what one's financial future looks like. Before any asset division, a person should know the number of bank accounts the couple shares and the balances; as well, he or she should track life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Almost every financial decision comes with a tax bill, and it may be in a person's best interest to consult an accountant before agreeing to any monetary splits. 

Divorce is not pleasant at any age, but careful planning can help avoid financial heartbreak. Any interested party may benefit from consulting with a well-seasoned divorce attorney to break down the legal jargon and explain the financial implications. In California, working with an astute lawyer can make the divorce transition easier to navigate.

Source: investopedia.com, "10 Mistakes to Avoid When Divorcing Over 50", Catherine Fredman, Dec. 7, 2017

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