The reality of age creep in divorce

Feb 27 2018 - Posted by , in Divorce, Tagged in Divorce

For the late, great David Bowie, Golden Years seemed to reflect budding youth. At least that’s the sense of the lyrics he wrote for his hit song by that title. A more traditional interpretation of golden years is that period of retirement – a time to slow down and enjoy life.

Happily married couples likely look forward to these years, anticipating doing the things they always talked about, but never did because work, children – life – got in the way. For those in hapless relationships, the golden years may prompt dread. They are older, but still ready to go. Some may ask, “Why spend the time I have left with someone I don’t love or like?”

Based on research this past year, the numbers of adult couples aged 50 and above posing that question is on the rise, and the answer many of them are arriving at is, “I don’t have to.” According to the data, the divorce rate for couples in that 50-and-over bracket has increased ten-fold from 1990 to 2015. For couples aged 65 and over, the rate has tripled.

As we have noted previously, divorcing later in life can present unique challenges for those involved. Factors such as employability of both parties may need to be taken into account. A lifetime of marital asset and debt acquisitions also needs to be assessed and valued for property division. Without due diligence, a comfortable retirement could be out of reach for both parties.

All of this is by way of saying that the reality of assets and debts accumulated over years can sometimes surprise later-in-life divorcing couples. Property division is often the greatest point of contention in any divorce and the longer the couple has been married, the more emotions can be magnified, sparking litigation that raises costs and depletes resources. To avoid that, it’s helpful to seek counsel from a skilled attorney focused on preserving estate assets.

Then, at the same time preservation steps are taken, the work of reaching an optimal settlement can also proceed.

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