3 concerns unique to older divorcing couples

These days, when couples become empty nesters or retire, they sometimes realize that the person they’ve spent most of their adult lives with isn’t the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with. The concerns of those considering what has been given the unfortunate name “gray divorce,” may be very different than those of couples in their 30s or 40s.

While you’ll still have property division and possibly spousal support to work out, there are some other matters you may need to codify in your divorce agreements so that they don’t become a source of conflict or confusion later. Let’s look at just a few of these.

Expenses related to adult children

If you are paying for your child’s college education or have taken out a Parent PLUS loan to cover those expenses, you’ll need to determine how it will be handled going forward. If you planned to pay for some or all of your child’s wedding – even if it’s still in the future – that should also be worked out.

Most parents don’t want their divorce to limit their kids’ dreams. However, when these things aren’t taken into consideration, that can happen. The same is true if you’re helping out with things like paying for a grandchild’s private school, medical costs and other expenses.

Dividing retirement accounts

This is almost always a significant part of the property division process. However, if you’re nearing or already in retirement, you likely have substantial savings in these accounts. Typically, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is used to divide 401(k) accounts and pension plans. You may need to work out individual retirement account (IRA) divisions as well.

Who gets the advisors?

If you and your spouse have been together for years, you likely have trusted financial, tax and estate planning professionals. You can’t both continue to retain the same people beginning as soon as you decide to split. It’s unwise for you and unethical for them. That means it’s important to determine who will need to find new advisors as soon as possible.

It’s generally easier if one spouse doesn’t have to be the one finding all new people. However, if you’re not as close to them as your spouse is, you might feel more secure with new advisors.

These are just a few things to consider. Everyone’s situation is different. That’s why having trusted legal guidance throughout your divorce is key.

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