n behalf of Law Office of Ann A. Thomson, A Professional Law Corporation posted on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
The spike in the divorce rate for individuals over 50 years of age, referred to as “gray” divorce, has changed the face of many divorce settlements and judgments. While younger couples in California may be concerned with child support and custody issues, older individuals face questions of property division that may involve substantial accumulated assets, including retirement accounts. The division of a retirement account can have a serious impact on the spouses’ plans for old age.
According to a recent study, about 25 percent of all divorces involve those over 50. The number of “gray” divorces has increased dramatically in the last decade, more than doubling between 1990 and 2010. This change in the divorce landscape has led to consideration of the division of different types of assets than are usually found in divorce agreements, including retirement savings. On average, divorced couples find that they wind up with at least $10,000 less in retirement savings than their married peers.
One reason for this disparity is that many people fail to think about retirement accounts as marital property. When a divorce occurs, many of these individuals are surprised at the reduction in the amount they have available for retirement and may have to refocus their efforts on building these accounts back up to enable them to retire on schedule. In some cases, the individual finds that he or she is unable to retire when planned due to lack of assets.
A family law attorney may be able to help those who are considering divorce after 50 to protect retirement assets. In many cases, a family law lawyer could help divorcing spouses devise an agreement that fairly divides retirement accounts and protects both partners.
Source: Huffington Post, “Gray divorce drastically cuts retirement savings by thousands,” Feb. 28, 2013