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Divorce considerations for those nearing or in retirement

At any age, going through a divorce is likely to be a difficult and painful process. However, for individuals who are nearing or in retirement, divorce can be particularly difficult--from both an emotional and financial standpoint.

While today divorces among married couples age 50 and older are fairly common and no longer a taboo subject, many individuals who find themselves newly single at age 50 or 60 are ill-prepared for all of the changes that divorce often brings.

This may be especially true for a spouse who never worked or only worked part-time. It's important to note, however, that alimony is often awarded in divorces involving long-term marriages when spouses are nearing or in retirement. Additionally, it's highly likely that a judge will order that assets held in retirement accounts be split evenly between spouses. While this is sure to benefit a spouse who never worked or didn't work fulltime, the division of retirement assets may be a significant and unexpected financial blow to the spouse who worked and contributed to these accounts.

In cases where one spouse wants to keep the family home, it's important to consider the real costs associated with doing so. Not only do real estate values tend to fluctuate, but the costs associated with keeping a home may end up being significantly more than one expected. Additionally, an ex may exploit his or her spouse's emotional ties to a family home and attempt to broker a more favorable divorce settlement.

Individuals who are going through a divorce at age 50 or older often have a unique set of concerns and needs. It's important, therefore, to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney who handles complex and high-asset divorce cases.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "7 Things to Know About Divorcing During YourSenior Years," Maryalene LaPonsie, April 24, 2016

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