Older adults face unique property division challenges

On behalf of South Tampa Law Group posted in property division on Thursday, August 2, 2018.

According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for adults over the age of 50 has doubled over the last two decades. This trend, known as “gray divorce,” means that many Florida couples who are retired or nearly retired will be undergoing property division. These individuals may have unique concerns and challenges during the divorce proceedings.

Getting divorced at a later age can seem somewhat easier at first. Child support and custody are rarely issues at hand, and breakups between older people who grow apart can often be more amicable. However, the way in which a couple splits up retirement funds can have a big impact on their lives at this age.

Specific regulations do exist regarding the division of 401(k) plans and IRAs, and these should be reviewed and followed correctly. Those who are close to retirement or have already retired should be careful about this process, as one mistake could be financially devastating. Couples who have made more money throughout their lives together will likely have more assets to divide, which may include multiple businesses, 401(k)s, pensions and more.

Regardless of the agreement, couples who choose to divorce at this age should be prepared to make some sacrifices. The assets and savings that were supporting a single household will now will need to support two, so options such as retiring later or downsizing may need to be considered by one or both parties. The best first step is to speak with a Florida lawyer to understand property division laws and divorce processes in the state.