The U.S. has seen an increase in older couples filing for divorce. The trend has been called a "gray divorce" and the increase in baby boomer divorces has created different challenges that younger couples may not face when getting a divorce.
Older couples getting divorced face different challenges. While they no longer have to determine child custody and support, most generally have more assets and financial concerns. Many older couples getting divorced have been together for decades and will have to divide their assets, debts, and property as well as plan for retirement.
These challenges can come as a surprise to some couples getting divorced. However, it is an important aspect to consider before getting divorced. Baby boomers and older couples should consider taking the following steps when getting divorced:
Be aware of finances: Both spouses should be aware of their finances even if only one spouse has generally taken care of the financial part during marriage. Spouses need to be aware of all accounts that are shared and what funds are used to pay for expenses.
Plan for the future: It is important for spouses to consider how their pension and 401k plans may be divided during divorce. Know what retirement accounts belong to whom and if you may be entitled to a portion of the retirement account. It is important to have an attorney prepare of Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which determines how a spouse's pension plan will be paid out.
Work with a financial planner: Creating a new budget for single life is very crucial. Divorce can create a radical financial change and it is very beneficial to create a budget for after divorce.
Revise estate plans: Spouses getting divorced need to remember to revise their estate plans. It is very important to rename the beneficiaries listed on life insurance and pension plans.
Divorce does not have to be challenging as long as steps are taken to ensure the financial aspects are addressed before and during the divorce process. These steps are very beneficial but it is just an overview. Older couples getting divorced should work with a family law attorney to discuss all their options and determine the best plan for a successful financial future.
Source: Huffington Post, "Coping With A Grey Divorce," Lubov Stark, Nov. 20, 2012