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Divorces between baby boomers pose unique challenges

While one may think that divorce affects certain age demographics more than others, in fact individuals in Florida of all ages may go through a divorce. For example, there is a growing rate of divorce for those baby boomers age 50 and older. Indeed, one in four Americans who goes through a divorce today is over the age of 50.

While divorce may be common for all age groups, the issues involved can change dramatically for baby boomers going through a divorce. For example, in these divorces, known as "gray divorces," one key issue is often the retirement savings of the couple. Individuals have frequently worked for years, or decades, to accumulate retirement savings, and they may be nearing retirement or they may have already retired. Assets such as pensions and individual retirement accounts may be divided during the divorce.

The divorce may also involve a complex asset division of other marital assets. One or both spouses may have business assets that need to be divided in the divorce. This can involve difficult issues of valuing the business assets and dividing them effectively.

Health benefits are also a key issue in many gray divorces, as a spouse may not be covered on the other spouse's plan after the divorce. Accordingly, the payment for these expensive health benefits can be a major sticking point.

The same is true for alimony and other financial issues. One spouse often depends on the other for finances, which can impose a severe hardship once the marriage ends. This is particularly true in gray divorces, where a person may not have worked for years, making it difficult to join the workforce and earn a significant income to keep up with the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.

The bottom line is that gray divorces are becoming more common, and therefore more individuals will need to confront these difficult financial issues that are bound to occur when the couple gets divorced. Individuals need to understand what issues are at stake, and how to best protect their interests in the divorce and in moving forward after the divorce.

Source: The Washington Post, "Gray divorce can drag both parties into the red," Rodney Brooks, April 8, 2016

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