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Late-in-life divorce: rare but rising

The Baby Boom generation has been predictably unpredictable, breaking and remaking traditions at every turn. It’s no surprise then that as America’s largest generation gets a bit grayer, it’s breaking yet another tradition with late-in-life divorce at an unprecedented rate.

According to researchers, late-in-life divorce is still rare, with only about 1 percent of couples age 50 years or older splitting permanently. Still, that is double the rate of 1980. 

For those people above 50 and are considering a divorce in New York City, there are inevitably going to be questions about such a dramatic change in living arrangements, finances and much more. For instance, a family law attorney interviewed by financial planning services company Vanguard, says it’s important early in the divorce process to prepare a realistic budget for post-divorce life.

In that way, you and your attorney can understand which income-generating assets will be most important in divorce settlement negotiations. Because older people have less income-producing time available, they need to be especially careful in thinking about what will matter most to them in property division during divorce.

In some cases, that might mean that a couple that together owns a house might come to an agreement in which they continue to share ownership after the divorce. In that way, both can be protected from real estate market ups and downs.   

Another issue to consider carefully with your attorney: division of retirement plan assets, including a 401(k) and pension.

There are many other issues to consider as well, of course, including any number that might be unique to your circumstances. A discussion with an experienced family law attorney begins the process of getting answers and problem resolution.

Source: Vanguard, “How to deal with the financial challenges of late-life divorce,” accessed October 8, 2014

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