Gray divorce issues: should you be concerned | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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Gray divorce issues: should you be concerned

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You were married for decades. You raised your kids, who are now grown and on their own. You've been planning your retirement and looking forward to traveling, taking up a hobby or simply having more time to enjoy your grandkids, friends or even time to yourself. You might never have imagined that another item on your post-55 agenda would be getting divorced.

It's definitely not uncommon. In fact, so many people in your age group are doing the same that analysts have dubbed the phenomenon "gray divorce." The rate of older couples filing for divorce has more than doubled in the past 20 years. You might not have to worry about things like child custody; however, there are several pertinent issues that could cause quite a few complications as you work toward a fair and amicable settlement.

Retirement benefits

It's not unusual for one spouse to earn a substantially higher income than his or her partner. You might even be one of many baby boomers or older spouses who sacrificed a career to stay home full-time and raise a family. If so, then retirement benefits may be a key factor in your divorce. If your marriage lasted more than ten years, you may be entitled to as much as half of your spouse's retirement benefits for the rest of your life, unless you remarry.

Estate planning issues

One of the greatest priorities of executing an estate plan is to review it from time to time and make sure it's up to date. You can write the most thorough plan in the world, but if you forget to change it as needed, it's not going to do much good. Getting divorced definitely means you should adjust your estate plan accordingly, especially if you have your current spouse listed as a sole beneficiary on retirement or insurance documents.

Other issues

California is a community property state, which means that the court's goal is to divide marital assets and liabilities 50/50 in divorce. If you're a business owner or have a lot of money invested in stocks and bonds, divorce could greatly affect your future financial portfolio. Gray divorce doesn't necessarily have to ruin your finances. You can seek guidance and representation from an attorney with experience in negotiating later-in-life settlements.

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