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How to survive gray divorce

Gray divorce is a growing trend in Illinois and the rest of the United States. While divorce rates have dropped for all other age demographics, the rate for those aged 50 and above have approximately doubled over the last two decades.

Unfortunately, couples that file for divorce in their later years can face more financial challenges than those that split up when they are younger. This is because many older couples have more assets to divide and they have less time to financially recover once the divorce process is completed. Older couples may also believe that they have greater assets than they actually do. For example, after taxes and early withdrawal fees, a 401(k) retirement account could lose over half its value when divided in a divorce. The family home could become too expensive for single people to maintain on their own once the divorce is finalized.

To avoid financial mistakes, experts recommend that people know exactly how much all assets are worth before filing for divorce. They also recommend that people educate themselves on the tax implications for all retirement accounts before they negotiate the division of assets. Divorcing couples may be able to save money by maintaining an amicable relationship during divorce negotiations. The more bitter and protracted the process, the more expensive it is going to be.

The end of a marriage can be an emotionally and financially difficult time for all those involved. Many people choose to work with an attorney to ensure their interests are protected throughout the process. An attorney could handle disputes that arise while dividing assets and negotiate fair agreements on alimony, child custody and child support.

Source: Kiplinger, "The True Cost of Gray Divorce", Scott Hanson, Sept. 30, 2017

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