Divorce, in general, is not a new concept. Divorce on a grand scale among people over the age of 50, however, is. The phenomenon is called "gray divorce," and it is on the rise. Sociologists from Bowling Green State University say the reason this is happening is two-fold. People are living longer than ever now, and they simply grow apart. Furthermore, women are more capable of surviving financially on their own now, which could account for the more than half of all divorces being initiated by women.
The tricky part about gray divorce is the fact that most take place just before or shortly after retirement. This timing affects a couple of potentially life-altering things: retirement plans and business division.
Baby Boomer Divorce And Retirement
In many of the marriages that end after the age of 50, the couple has been together 20 years or more, and a solid retirement plan has been in place for a long time. When a couple decides to divorce later in life, retirement savings, 401Ks and the like must be divided between the two parties, which suddenly leaves them both with less to live on after retirement.
Business Division In Gray Divorce
Couples owning their own business, on the other hand, have even more at stake when they decide to end a long marriage. Division of business assets is one of the top three issues most gray divorcees fight over, according to an interview conducted by FOX Business with John Slowiaczek, president-elect of American Academy of Matrimonial Law.
Not only do retirement savings have to be divided, but any business assets do as well. No one gets married thinking they might get divorced down the road, but to avoid hassle in the future, it is best to draw up buy-sell contracts between the married business partners. The contract should clearly state the details agreed upon by both parties so there is no difficulty should the marriage go south later on.
Living Comfortably After A Late-Life Divorce
Divorcing after many years of marriage, when the kids are gone and retirement looms large on the horizon, is a big decision. The legal process can be overwhelming and confusing, especially when the outcome can mean the difference between living comfortably in the golden years or having to continue working for several more years
If you are a baby boomer seeking a divorce, it is best to have a team of professionals by your side including an experienced attorney who understands the unique aspects of a gray divorce. You need an attorney who can protect you and your assets, and can help you move on to live a comfortable life beyond your divorce. At The Powell Law Firm, we can provide the guidance you need.