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Complex property division can be stressful later in life

44699825_S.jpgThe emotional cost of remaining in an unhappy marriage often outweighs the potential financial stress created by divorce. While everyone in Missouri should be cautious of their finances during divorce, this is especially true for those going through so-called gray divorces. Divorcing later in life often results in complex property division involving significant financial investments, including homes and retirement savings.

The overall divorce rate has been decreasing over time, but couples over the age of 50 have seen their rate double over the past several decades. While the average cost of getting a divorce is the same for older couples as it is for their younger counterparts, the financial aftermath is much more uncertain. Divorcing close to retirement age leaves less time to financially recover or establish other means to support each individual later in life.

Retirement savings are not always straight-forward to divide, either. If only one spouse worked during most of the marriage, he or she often feels entitled to keep the entirety of the savings. However, retirement savings are marital property as the funds were set aside for both individuals later in life. This does not mean that one person can simply yank out half of the funds. Most retirement savings are taxed upon withdrawal, with penalties for early withdrawal.

Unlike marriages that last only a brief period, divorcing after decades of marriage can introduce more costly assets and complex property division. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in retirement savings are sometimes on the line in a gray divorce. In Missouri, a high asset divorce typically requires considerable more care and attention to detail, and when approached in such a manner usually results in a satisfactory end for both parties.

Source: kiplinger.com, "The True Cost of Gray Divorce", Scott Hanson, Sept. 27, 2017

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