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Divorce rate doubles for those aged 50 and older

Many people think of divorce as something that primarily affects younger couples, or those in early middle age. However, recent years have shown a big increase in divorces that occur later in life. Over the past 20 years, the divorce rate has doubled for individuals aged 50 and older, and these so-called gray divorces now make up one in four of all divorces.

While many of the divorce legal issues may be the same whether a couple gets divorced in their twenties or their sixties, there are significant differences that may be seen. Couples who have been together for much longer may have accumulated more assets over the years, making the property division process tougher in a high asset divorce.

For example, the couple may have real estate, retirement accounts, investments and other assets that need to be distributed in the divorce. There are many different considerations to take into account with each of these assets, including not just who obtains the asset, but what other issues are at stake. For instance, there can be significant tax consequences with liquidating certain assets. Withdrawing money from a regular IRA may be taxable, unlike Roth IRAs, and thus a Roth IRA and regular IRA cannot simply be compared based upon their present balances.

Ultimately, the issues involved in each divorce will vary based upon the circumstances of the case. Individuals should be aware of the various issues at stake, including not just what assets are available and how they should be divided, but what tangential consequences may result from certain distributions. By doing so, individuals can best protect their interests and achieve success.

Source: Washington Post, "Divorcing late in life? Don't let it destroy your retirement," Martha M. Hamilton, Dec. 2, 2016

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Attorney Christine K. Lincoln

Christine K. Lincoln offers sound counsel and legal services to protect clients and their families facing divorce and other family disputes.

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