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The Changing Face Of Marriage Dissolution

Posted on in Distribution of Assets

gray divorceExpect more gray divorces in the coming years.

For one thing, the divorce rate among younger couples has decreased. More people staying married through their 30s and 40s means that there are more couples who could break up in their 50s and 60s. Additionally, people are living longer and enjoying sustained quality of life. To many people, "60 is the new 40" and "80 is the new 60."

Issues in a Late-in-Life Divorce

Between 1990 and 2010, the divorce rate for people over 50 doubled. For many, the "empty-nest" syndrome was a key contributing factor. Marital trauma, such as adultery or illness, may play a part as well. Regardless of the cause, older divorcees must often deal with a significant amount of grief and other emotional baggage.

Mature couples generally have no minor children and fewer marital debts. While this combination may eliminate some potential sources of conflict, other problem areas may emerge, including:

  • Property Division: A marital residence may have a significant amount of equity; the couple may have an interest in a vacation home or timeshare, a frequent-flier account may have a large balance, the parties’ employment income may be significantly higher, and the list goes on. All of these divisions can be very complicated.

  • Subsequent Marriage: Older people may be on their second marriage, or even third or fourth, making property ownership difficult to trace.

  • Estate Plan: Mature couples often have a well-developed and complicated estate plan, which involves much more than a simple will and testamentary trust. All these documents, and plans, need to be adjusted to fit the new reality.

  • Retirement Account: Though it is technically part of the property division, dividing an IRA, 401(k), pension plan or other retirement nest egg can take on a life of its own. Decisions must be made regarding payout procedure and allocation of funds. Most plans, especially military retirement plans, have their own specific rules which must be followed.

The overarching goal remains a fair property division, which is usually not the same thing as an equal property division.

If your marriage is ending, regardless of how old you are, contact a Lombard family law attorney for a consultation. At A. Traub & Associates, we strive to return your calls within 24 hours.

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