A research paper known as the Bowling Green Study shows a significant increase in divorce among couples over age 50. According to the study, one in four marriages of middle-aged couples end in divorce. This trend follows the pattern of the baby boomer generation, the first large demographic group to marry, divorce and remarry in large numbers. It also shows that those in second or third marriages are more than twice as likely to divorce and suggests a number of reasons for this trend, including a shift in the social paradigm that normalized divorce. Though it is now common and widely accepted, divorce can have dire financial consequences for midlife and elder Americans.
AREAS OF CONCERN
Some concerns pertain specifically to those divorcing later in life. Despite the enormous strides in earning equality this generation has achieved, women over 50 are still more likely to suffer a financial downturn following divorce.
One of the most contentious areas among divorcing couples is spousal support. In California, there are factors the court must consider in determining the amount of spousal support to which a lower-earning spouse is entitled, with the advantage of an increase for a long-term marriage (a marriage lasting at least 10 years). Factors include each spouse's health, education and value in the workforce. As an older couple heads toward retirement, the issue of continuing spousal support becomes complicated.
One essential tool for an older divorcing couple who need to divide retirement accounts is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The QDRO allows one spouse to receive to their share of the other spouse's retirement, pension, 401k or IRA without incurring penalties. In the community property state of California, it is essential to deal with the division of retirement accounts as soon as possible.
If a couple owned and operated a family business or practice together, the business is a marital asset that is divided upon divorce. The business must be valued and sold, or one partner must buy out the other's interest. If the parties were in business together for many years, there might be significant emotional attachment to the outcome or an unrealistic perception of the business' value.
Divorce over 50 presents unique challenges. If you are considering divorce, work with a skilled divorce attorney in the San Diego area