Divorce among baby boomer couples 50 years or older has doubled over the last 20 years, according to a recent study by the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green University in Ohio. In 1990, 1 in 10 people who divorced were 50 years or older. Now, that figure is 1 in 4.
Baby boomer couples that have been married 25 years or more are divorcing at record rates.
Divorce isn’t easy on anyone, but it’s especially complicated when a couple has to divide 25 years of property, assets, and retirement savings. For those who are over 50, and contemplating or filing for divorce, FindLaw.com has helpful tips for navigating three of the more complex financial issues:
- Property and Bank Accounts: Immediately cashing out stock and bond investments, IRA accounts and selling your home or vacation property can cost both parties thousands in capital gains taxes. Consider consulting a certified divorce financial analyst, in conjunction with your divorce attorney, to explain your options and advise you in separating assets.
- Retirement and Social Security: Couples that are already living off their retirement assets, may be required to get a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, which is a separate court order determining the division of retirement assets. Older couples also need to face questions about survivor benefits if the other spouse dies. They should review special rules regarding Social Security benefits, such as entitlement to survivor benefits for couples that have been married for more than 10 years and are older than 62.
- Health Insurance: In cases where one spouse is dependent on the other for health care insurance, some couples separate but do not go through with divorce because of the enormous costs of insurance, especially if one of the partners is suffering from a health issue such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases. Many insurance companies have strict rules related to divorce, so it's important to check those policies and consult an attorney.
FindLaw offers a wealth of information to people who want to learn about the legal aspects of major life decisions, and connects consumers with legal professionals who can help them through difficult times. For more information about divorce law, visit the Family Law Center at FindLaw.com, the nation's leading website for free legal information.
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with Robyn Hagan Cain, FindLaw Audience Team